Sunday, September 11, 2022

Lest we forget



Studio View, 9/11 Oil on Canvas c. 9/11/2001 by David FeBland

"Studio View, 9/11"
Oil on Canvas c. 9/11/2001 by David FeBland

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Satan came to Memphis

Satan wears many faces - this one came to Memphis a few days ago...


Friday, September 09, 2022

American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center - The Fall shows

 7 Fall Exhibits Open Saturday at AU's gorgeous Katzen Museum...

Make-BelieveGeorgia Saxelby and Devan ShimoyamaKallos: Maria KarametouSitting Pretty: Two Hundred Years of American Portrait Painting from the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of ArtHaunted KoreasMina Cheon with Kim Il SoonSingularities and Infinities: Shanthi Chandrasekar and Michael AlbrowNan Montgomery: CounterpointMore Clay: The Power of Repetition
Ongoing Exhibition:Glorious GlassWorks by Annette Lerner

Thursday, September 08, 2022

The 2022 Trawick Prize winners are...

The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards, a juried art competition produced by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, announced the 2022 prize winners during last night’s awards reception. 

WonJung Choi and Carol Trawick
WonJung Choi and Carol Trawick

WonJung Choi of Richmond, VA was awarded the prestigious “Best in Show” title and received the $10,000 top prize. Caryn Martin from Baltimore, MD was named second place and given $2,000; Robert Martin from Staunton, VA was bestowed third place and received $1,000; and Evie Metz from Henrico, VA was awarded the Young Artist Award and received $1,000.

WonJung Choi, was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. Her series of sculptures, paintings, drawings, and installation explores the power of her every changing identity in the making. She’s studied the process of mutation and evolution undertaken by diverse organisms to adapt to their current surroundings reflecting her hybrid identity through the continuous interactions between herself, contemporary culture and society. Choi received her Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York and her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Hong-Ik University in Seoul, Korea. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, and has been awarded residencies at the Museum of Arts and Design and Artists Alliance Inc. (AAI) in New York as well as a fellowship at Vermont Studio Center.

2022 Trawick Prize Finalists

MK Bailey, Washington, D.C.

WonJung Choi, Richmond, VA

Marcia Haffmans, Richmond, VA

Ali Kaeini, Richmond, VA

Caryn Martin, Baltimore, MD

Robert Mertens, Staunton, VA

Evie Metz, Henrico, VA

Judith Pratt, Orange, VA

Entries were juried by Alexis Assam, Regenia A. Perry, Assistant Curator of Global Contemporary Art at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VFMA); Thomas James, Visual Arts Curator at Creative Alliance in Baltimore, MD; and Maria del Carmen Montoya, Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Spatial Practices, Director of Graduate Studies, M.F.A. in Fine Arts and Social Practice, Studio Arts Program.

Founded by Carol Trawick in 2003, the regional competition is one of the largest prizes to annually honor visual artists. Ms. Trawick, a longtime community activist in downtown Bethesda, also established the Bethesda Painting Awards in 2005. She has served as the Chair of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, Bethesda Urban Partnership, Strathmore and the Maryland State Arts Council. She founded the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation in 2007 to assist health and human services and arts non-profits in Montgomery County, MD. The Foundation has awarded grants to more than 90 nonprofits in Montgomery County and funds the annual Trawick Prize and the Bethesda Painting Awards.


 


To date, The Trawick Prize has awarded more than $260,000 in prize monies and has exhibited the work of more than 160 regional artists.


 


The work of the finalists will be on exhibit at Gallery B, 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite E, until October 2. Gallery hours for the duration of the exhibit will be Thursday-Sunday, 12 – 5pm.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

For AAFNYC!

Working on another version of "Sleep is the Cousin of Death." This one is a 36x36 inches watercolor and I'll have it at the upcoming Affordable Art Fair New York City in New York City in a couple of weeks!

Sleep is the Cousin of Death by Campello


Tuesday, September 06, 2022

The Campello Art Fair Model (again)

 I first proposed a slightly different version of this art fair model to all the organizations mentioned in this article about a decade ago, when there was (even then) a sense of art fatigue brewing in the art world. Result: zip, nada, nothing! No one even answered my letters (remember letters?).

In a post Covidian world, I suspect that a lot of people will still be a little leery of large group gatherings, and art fairs based on pre-Covidian standards may be a bit antiquated in the Brave Chickenized New World.

Herewith a revised Campello Art Fair Model.

The important thing to remember, as I mull, chew, and refine a "new" art post-Covidian fair model to replace the existing pre-Covidian art fair model, which in its American incarnations seemed to work well only in Miami and New York, but not so well in the West coast (and as we DMV-based folks have seen with (e)merge and artDC, not at all in the capital region), is the marriage of a legitimate art entity (a museum) with an art-for-sale process as a means to raise funds.

The seeds for this model already exist in the DC region with the Smithsonian Craft Show, now in its third decade.

Considered by many to be the finest craft fair in the world -- and from the many artists that I have spoken to over the years -- one of the best places to sell fine crafts as well, this prestigious and highly competitive juried exhibition and sale of contemporary American craft usually takes place each April for four days. It takes place at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC and it includes one-of-a-kind and limited-edition craft objects in 12 different media: basketry, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper, wearable art and wood.

There were 120 exhibitors in their last show, including emerging artists and master craftsmen, over 30 of whom were first-time participants. Twelve of those selected were also first-time applicants to the show. All were chosen by a panel of expert jurors from a highly competitive field of close to 1,400 applicants.

So, we have a model for crafts in DC which has been working for over 30 years.

See where I'm going?

Can we envision the Smithsonian American Art Fair?

Or... The Smithsonian American International Art Fair?

The SAIAF would dramatically expand the business model of the Smithsonian Craft Fair to a National Mall-wide - outdoors - or even a citywide art fair anchored and guided by the Smithsonian Institution, and possibly either:

(a) spread throughout the various accommodating outdoor spaces at the various SI locales around the National Mall or even…

(b) in temporary art spaces, booth, or containers on the open spaces of the National Mall itself!

The latter is not as big of a deal as it sounds.

The National Mall already hosts a spectacular variety of outdoor events on the Mall spaces where complex display spaces are temporarily built, secured and just as quickly dismantled, grass re-seeded, and by Monday the Mall is back to normal.

Boom!

For art, all we need is protection from the weather and security. Perhaps even a combination of "free" (to the public) set of exhibitors (maybe out on the Mall) coupled with a paid admission set of exhibitors inside SI spaces -- or just make them all free to the public?

Details... details...

This new fair model would be open to both commercial art galleries and art dealers, as well as to art schools, and (and here's the key "and") to individual artists and cooperative artist-owned galleries.

Size matters… just ask Salvador Dali, who once said: “If you can’t paint well, then paint big!”

Would 1200 galleries, dealers, schools and artists in a mega, new-model art fair raise some interests from art collectors to come to DC for a long weekend in May?

It would if it attracted 100,000 visitors to the fair instead of 10,000 (like the looooong gone art fair artDC once attracted).

Are you aware that in May the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival in nearby Bethesda attracts 30-40,000 people to the streets of Bethesda for this artist-only street fine arts fair? or that also in May the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival attracts the same number of people to the streets of the Reston Town Center to buy art from individual artists?

Both Bethesda and Reston have two of the highest median household incomes in the US. And I am told that the Greater Washington, DC region has the second highest concentration of multi-millionaires in the world.

The money is here - the key is to get the disposable income crowd in touch with the art.

Both Bethesda and Reston manage to accomplish this one weekend each year. Do not, under any circumstances assume that these are "street fairs" where teddy bears, country crafts, and dried flowers are sold. These are both highly competitive fine arts outdoor fairs where artists from all over the nation come to and compete for spots because artwork sells well.

I have seen $80,000 worth of sculptures sell to one collector in Bethesda and a painter with a price point of $17,000 sell out in Reston.

Do not let the snobby attitude of the high art world affect your preconception of what these two street art fairs are like; go visit one this coming (and hopefully post Covidian) and open your eyes. In 2021 the fairs slipped from May to later months… but I am sure that they’ll be back to May in 2022.

And because of them, and because of the success of Art Basel Miami Beach, we know that given a certain critical mass, people will come out to an art fair. The primary key for art dealers to have interest in an art fair is sales (and also exposure to new collectors, museum curators, etc.), but mainly sales.

If you are a British gallery, by the time you get yourself and your artwork to Miami Beach, you're in the hole a whole bunch of Euros and British pounds; if you don't sell anything (like it happened to a British gallery in artDC and an Israeli gallery at another fair), chances are that you won't return to that fair.

But increase the public attendance numbers exponentially, and Economics 101 tells you that sales will also increase exponentially. And unlike the hotel-deprived artDC location at the Convention Center, I am told by DC's tourist gurus that the National Mall is already a magnet location where visitors, regardless of where they are staying around the Greater DC region, flock to during their visits to the capital.

Since two major Greater DC area street art fairs already exist in May in the Greater DC area, we can even consider aligning the weekends so that both Reston, Bethesda, and the Smithsonian American International Art Fair all take place on the same weekend!

Offer free bus service between Reston and Bethesda and the National Mall for collectors to hop around during the fair weekend, and a public buzz alignment will begin to happen. The Smithsonian American International Art Fair starts on a Thursday through Sunday and both Reston and Bethesda continue to run on Saturday and Sunday. And the Smithsonian American International Art Fair is focused as a major fundraiser for the cash-hungry SI.

A formula of booth prices + perhaps a 5% commission on all sales (both tax deductible for American galleries) would take care of temporary Mall booth construction, re-seeding of grass, and booth construction inside SI venues and still yield a nice chunk of cash for the SI.

If there's commercial success and high public attendance, soon we'd see some satellite hotel fairs popping up all over DC and its easy-to-get-to suburbs; the Phillips will jump on the bandwagon right away.

ABMB had 26 fairs all over Greater Miami last December. Another DC-unique element to the above model, and an important element that only a Washington art fair weekend can add: include the Embassies!

In addition to all the above events taking place, the fair could also align with shows at 15-20 embassy galleries around DC. The embassies would showcase one (or a group) of their national artists, and then the fair would really have an international flavor, and the beginning seeds of an American Venice in the DMV.

DC is a small city; it's fairly easy to set up transportation between the embassies and the Mall. In fact, some embassies could probably set that up themselves.

I think that this "new" super model could (and eventually when someone delivers and implements it -- it will) challenge Miami Beach -- and yes, I am aware that DC in May is not Miami in December -- but I also think that the District's own museums and public attractions trump Miami's anytime, so the DMV has something different to offer the potential collector who may be considering attending a new art fair in a city (like DC) that also offers him/her some other cultural and visual attractions besides good weather, and nice beaches… and Calle Ocho.

DC art commissioners... Smithsonianos... DC city fathers and mothers.... call me!

Monday, September 05, 2022

Monroe sees her last visitor

I'm going to bring about 30-40 original works on broken Bisque to New York in a couple of weeks - now experimenting with breaking them further one the drawing is done. 

This is "Monroe sees her last visitor." It will be at the Affordable Art Fair New York City in a couple of weeks in Chelsea.

Monroe sees her last visitor by Campello

Monroe sees her last visitor by Campello

Monroe sees her last visitor by Campello


Sunday, September 04, 2022

The 2022 Paint the Town Award Winners!

It was my distinct and unique honor to serve as the 2022 Paint the Town juror for the Montgomery Art Association, which together with the town of Kensington, Maryland stages this annual visual art exhibition and competition each year in beautiful Kensington, just outside of the District.

This was a very difficult show to juror - both the open exhibition at the Kensington Armory and the plein air competition which took place yesterday all over this beautiful Maryland town outside nearby Washington, DC.  Below are the award winners selected by me - congratulations to all of them... it was a really difficult competition!

Let me repeat myself: as all great shows are, this was an immensely difficult show to judge, which is a good thing! The quality of entries was uniformly superior in almost every category, and the difference between first, second, third, and even some honorable mentions was minimal. The Portrait category in particular was tough to judge as there were so many really outstanding entries. And I was especially surprised by the Kensington category – there was not a single bad entry! As always, I am honored to be able to judge and comment on work of my fellow artists.

Kensington Category

1st Place & Best in Show (Bertha Clum Award): Historia Est Magistra Vitae by Dora Patin

Historia Est Magistra Vitae by Dora Patin
Historia Est Magistra Vitae by Dora Patin

2nd Place: The Hard Work by Paula Zeller

3rd Place: Early Morning on the MARC by Barbara Mandel

Honorable Mentions: Light Remains by Virginia Browning; At the Station by Susan Fitch Brown; Cedar Lane, 3 am by David Sommers

Landscape Category

1st Place: Golden Cloud by Sarah Clayton Davis

Golden Cloud by Sarah Clayton Davis
Golden Cloud by Sarah Clayton Davis

2nd Place: Vaison La Romaine, France by Mary Vinograd

3rd Place: Water Meadows, Woodfield Road by Benita Kane Jaro

Honorable Mentions: Time Out by Margaret Ingram; Winter by Rajendra KC; Isle of Capri by Deborah Pollack; Tempest by Ting Rao; The House Before the Storm by My-Linh Rouil; Nature's Sculpture by Yik Chek Phan

Portrait Category

1st Place: I Will Conquer by Isabella Martire

I Will Conquer by Isabella Martire
I Will Conquer by Isabella Martire

2nd Place: You Are Gone and That Scares Me by Ally Morgan

3rd Place: Summer Morning by Ting Rao

Honorable Mentions: Glow by Jennifer Lynn Beaudet; Gaby Is Musing by Nan Dawkins; Playing the Blues by Karen Merkin; Weathered by Ellen Yahuda; Stock Up Time by Vicky Zhou

Still Life Category

1st Place: Veri Peri Macaron by Jennifer Barlow

Veri Peri Macaron by Jennifer Barlow
Veri Peri Macaron by Jennifer Barlow

2nd Place: A Bear Necessity by Amanda Coelho

3rd Place: Waiting for Wings by Christina Webber

Honorable Mentions: Chatty Onions by Nan Dawkins; Roses Ride by Jack Hammond

Abstract Category

1st Place: Metamorphosis by Sandra Pérez-Ramos

Metamorphosis by Sandra Pérez-Ramos
Metamorphosis by Sandra Pérez-Ramos

2nd Place: Rhapsody of a Hug by Martina Sestakova

3rd Place: Crows by Nancy Randa

Honorable Mentions: Composition 29 by Mari Craig; Coastal Dreams by Rosemary Fallon; Happy Wave by Raya Salman; Exploration by Jenny Wilson

Sculpture Category

1st place: Patchwork of Promise by Peijisan Art

Patchwork of Promise by Peijisan Art
Patchwork of Promise by Peijisan Art

2nd Place: A Much Needed Break by Samantha Hecox

3rd Place: Ice Bucket by Nadia Hewchuck

Honorable Mention: Fort! by Anastasia Walsh

Photography Category

1st Place: The Gymnast by Arindam Dasgupta

The Gymnast by Arindam Dasgupta
The Gymnast by Arindam Dasgupta

2nd Place: Warbler House by Julie Steinberg

3rd Place: Snow Day by Regina Boston

Plein Air Competition

1st place: Saturday Market by Vicky Zhou

Saturday Market by Vicky Zhou
Saturday Market by Vicky Zhou

2nd place: OK Morning! by Robert Pearlman

3rd place: Water Fountain by Carrie Adler

Honorable mentions: Professor by Holly Buehler; Outdoor Seating, Kensington by Garine Magary

Student Invitational

Winner: The Bearer by Elielle Kayomb

The Bearer by Elielle Kayomb
The Bearer by Elielle Kayomb

2nd Place: Hammer Brooch by Nadia Hewchuck

3rd Place: A Gazelle in the Water by Stephanie Fernandez

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Job in the Arts

Chief Executive Officer, International Arts & Artists 

International Arts & Artist's Board of Trustees is immediately seeking a dynamic, skilled, experienced leader to become IA&A's next President and Chief Executive Officer when our founder David Furchgott retires this fall.

Ideal candidates will have:

  • A passion for IA&A’s mission of increasing cross-cultural understanding through the arts.
  • 10+ years appropriate professional experience, including at least five years in an executive role.
  • Substantive connections in the arts and strong relationships with national & international arts leaders.
  • A record of success in the growth of her/his past endeavors. • A deep understanding of, and a driving commitment to, the arts and cultural exchange.
  • A history of effective leadership and the ability to motivate and inspire a small but talented team.
  • Entrepreneurial instincts with strong business acumen with a drive for results, and a track record in building new relationships and developing new programs.
  • Track record in building revenue earned and charitable revenue streams. Compensation ranging from $120,000 to $145,000 plus health insurance and other benefits, and reasonable moving expense reimbursement (depending upon experience).

To learn more about this great opportunity, download the full job description. To apply visit DRi Waterstone.

IA&A at Hillyer | 9 Hillyer Ct, NW, Washington, DC 20008

(202) 338-0680 | | atHillyer.org

Friday, September 02, 2022

2022 Paint the Town Labor Day Show

The 2022 Paint the Town Labor Day Show starts tomorrow in downtown Kensington,  MD. Enjoy artist demonstrations, yummy food trucks, amazing art, live music, and more!



Come enjoy the art of over 200 members of the Montgomery Art Association. The event is free and open to the public. Stop by September 3-5 at the Kensington Historic Armory at 3710 Mitchell Street, Kensington, MD. Also over 175 artists painting on the streets of Kensington! Plein air painting at its best!

https://montgomeryart.org/labor-day-2022/


Thursday, September 01, 2022

Monoprint Collages by Rosemary Cooley at Washington Printmakers Gallery

Dream Forest: Chance Meeting - Monoprint Collages by Rosemary Cooley

October 1 – 30, 2022 at at Washington Printmakers Gallery

1641 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC

Opening reception: Saturday, October 1 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Washington Printmakers presents artworks of Rosemary Cooley, in her fifth solo exhibition at the gallery. Her painterly monoprints and collages reflect thoughts from the unconscious mind, a personal archeology based on a lifetime of world travel and cross cultural experiences, coupled with a love of art history and the materials of art making. 

As a printmaker who has long honored process as a road to product, she now delves into the Jungian concept that one must disentangle from the Ego, and work intuitively, to reach a more powerful path.

In this exhibit, the artist celebrates notions of Individuation, of finding one’s unique personality apart from societal expectations. The Celebration of the Collective Unconscious, in which there are symbols which mankind has repeated throughout ages and over countless cultures, also plays a strong role. 

The artworks are created from torn and cut monoprints, all hand pulled from an inked polymer plate onto various archival papers, ranging from thick to thin. This is where the Dream Forest begins, and where certain unexpected, even disparate entities come together to form a new sensory reality. 

Unconscious thoughts spill into the real world in the form of landscapes, still lifes and abstract designs as monoprint pieces combine with old script, found in world markets, are transferred onto thin Japanese papers and added to the works. Often the work is sharpened with watercolor painting. And as a final step, Cooley's fascination with medieval manuscript illuminations is reflected in accents of 23k gold leaf.

This chance meeting of unrelated entities somehow creates a new reality when pasted down. As Jung said, “Often the hands know how to solve a riddle with which the intellect has wrestled in vain.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Wodzianski at the next Affordable Art Fair

This recent work by Andrew Wodzianski will be in booth D15 next 22-25 September at the Affordable Art Fair in Chelsea, NYC!

Star Trek rocks!!!!

Diversity by Andrew Wodzianski
Celebrate Diversity by Andrew Wodzianski
Acrylic on Vintage Star Trek blueprint



Monday, August 22, 2022

Hope and Healing: 2022 Prince George's County Juried Exhibition

From PG County:

Dear Artists,

We will be displaying Hope and Healing: The 2022 Prince George's County Juried exhibition at Montpelier Arts Center this winter, from November 2, 2022 through January 6, 2023. The artwork will be selected by the juror, Leslie Pelzer, and then will be installed and displayed in the gallery space.

We would like to encourage you to apply to the call for entry for this exhibition. Artists may submit up to 3 samples of work for consideration in relation to the exhibit's title and theme. All media are welcomed, please refer to the size requirement information in the call for entry text.

The deadline to apply will be October 7, 2022 at 11:59 pm. All applications must be submitted online through Submittable. Please create a free account, if needed. https://m-ncppc.submittable.com/submit.

Please send any questions to Stuart Diekmeyer (stuart.diekmeyer@pgparks.com) or Sara Caporaletti (sara.caporaletti@pgparks.com)

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Homage to H.P. lovecraft

This original homage to the great master of horror will be at the Affordable Art Fair New York City in booth D15 at the Chelsea Pavilion in Chelsea in NYC 22-25 September!

Homage to H.P. Lovecraft by Campello
Homage to H.P. Lovecraft


Saturday, August 20, 2022

Nun with a past

Nun with a past - drawing by Campello
Nun with a Past
Graphite and conte on reclaimed unfired Bisque

 

Friday, August 19, 2022

When Big Hair Roamed the Earth

 Inspired by James W. Bailey...

When Big Haired Roamed the Earth - Graphite and Conte on Bisque by Campello
When Big Haired Roamed the Earth
Graphite and Conte on broken Bisque by Campello but inspired by Bailey


The curious case of Nikole Hannah-Jones and her ignorance of Cuba's virulent racism

When I first wrote the below post a few years ago, I then printed it and mailed it to Nikole Hannah-Jones.... hopefully she's better educated now, although dogma is a pretty harsh mistress.

New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, the leader of that paper's controversial 1619 Project recently showed a spectacular lack of background knowledge on the Cuban dictatorship's well-documented racist history and abuses of its black population by her statement that If you want to see the most equal, multiracial democ … it’s not a democracy — the most equal, multiracial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba,” and then proceeding to cite socialism as her reason to make the statement.

Ms. Hannah-Jones' rosy-eyed view of the Marxist dictatorship's oppression of its citizens, especially its Black citizens not only reveals loads about her own political leanings, but also serves as a brilliant example of suspicious lack of research skills about a subject as widely discussed as Cuba's oppressive and racist government.

Had Ms. Hannah-Jones - who visited Cuba in 2008 - bothered to look past her clear admiration for the Marxist government, and bothered to take a quick tour of the facts, she would have discovered that much has been written and documented about racism in Cuba, and it was even one of the earliest subjects addressed by the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson upon his arrival to the DMV a few decades ago from his various Latin American postings.

In his article a couple of decades ago, Cuba Begins to Answer Its Race Question, Robinson, also clearly and openly a very extreme left-wing oriented writer, tried hard to find excuses for the dictatorship, but nonetheless admits that:
Academics say that black Cubans are failing to earn university degrees in proportion to their numbers--a situation to which Castro has alluded publicly. The upper echelons of the government remain disproportionately white, despite the emergence of several rising black stars. And while perceptions are difficult to quantify, much less prove true or false, many black Cubans are convinced that they are much less likely than whites to land good jobs--and much more likely to be hassled by police on the street, like Cano's husband, in a Cuban version of "racial profiling."
But how about some Cubans inside Cuba discussing the subject?
In primary [Cuban] education, skin color is not mentioned," ... If we are still living in a society where white people have the power, and we don't mention color in education, we are in practice educating [Cuban] children to be white.

Cuban history as we teach it is a disgrace, because it is predominantly white history, and explaining the role of black people and mulattoes in building this society and its culture is not given its due importance.

Esteban Morales
University of Havana
Centre for the Study of the Hemisphere and the United States
A lot of hopes have been pinned by many people (who know little about Cuba and the repressive nature of its government) on President Obama's monumental decision to re-establish diplomatic relations with the unfortunate Caribbean island prison of Cuba; but first another Cuban quote:
...to carry on "hiding" the issue [of racism in Cuba] would lead black people to think that "they belong to another country, and that there are two Cuba’s as there were in the 19th century, a black Cuba and a white one."

Roberto Zurbano
Director
Casa de las Américas publishing house
Havana
And thus, it is curious to me that in his attempt to re-establish diplomatic ties, our socially conscious President (and his cadre of advisors) back then also - like Ms. Hannah-Jones - appeared to know little or nothing about the way that Afro-Cuban citizens are treated in their own country.

In reference to the President's visit to Cuba, 
Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, an associate professor of Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures at the University of Connecticut and a scholar at Harvard University, and writing in Ms. Hannah-Jones own newspaper, noted in the New York Times that  
“The images of the meetings, the agreements, they’re all shameful for many black Cubans — I’m including myself in this — because it’s difficult to feel represented.
Was the projected flow of American tourists expected to help Black Cubans in a pre-COVID Cuba? Roberto Zurbano, a Cuban expert in Afro-Cuban identity, race and literature based out of Havana wrote in his 2013 New York Times article that:
Most remittances from abroad — mainly the Miami area, the nerve center of the mostly white exile community — go to white Cubans. They tend to live in more upscale houses, which can easily be converted into restaurants or bed-and-breakfasts — the most common kind of private business in Cuba. Black Cubans have less property and money, and also have to contend with pervasive racism. Not long ago it was common for hotel managers, for example, to hire only white staff members, so as not to offend the supposed sensibilities of their European clientele.
Zurbano was subsequently punished by his Marxist government for daring to express that opinion on the pages of Ms. Hannah-Jones employing newspaper. Because that's how Communists roll!

That "not long ago" is still the case, as anyone who has been to Cuba recently can testify to and which Ms. Hannah-Jones could clearly see during her 2008 visit to the island - it is very rare to see a black face in any of Havana's "tourist only" hotels and nearby beaches. Discussing those lucrative jobs, Yusimí Rodríguez López, an Afro-Cuban independent journalist, said in a 2016 New York Times article that there were job listings in Revolico — sometimes called Cuba’s underground Craigslist — “where they say they only want whites.”

In the same NYT article we read:
“They talk a lot here about discrimination against blacks in the United States. What about here?” said Manuel Valier Figueroa, 50, an actor, who was in the park on Monday. “If there’s a dance competition, they’re going to choose the woman who is fair-skinned with light, good hair. If there’s a tourism job, the same.”

He added: “Why are there no blacks managing hotels? You don’t see any blacks working as chefs in hotels, but you see them as janitors and porters. They get the inferior jobs.”
One would hope that Ms. Hannah-Jones' exploration of Cuba, a nation with one of the world's worst human rights records, where Amnesty International has been denied access to (except to that bit of Cuba where the Guantanamo Naval Base is located); a nation where gay people were once given lobotomies to "cure" them; and where HIV+ Cubans were detained and segregated in guarded colonies away from the general public, could at least have educated her on the disturbing status of blacks in their own island nation.

Fact: Twice as many African slaves were brought to Cuba than to the United States... twice!

And what really bugs me, in my own pedantic hell, is how often historically and socially clueless American academics, journalists, activists, etc. make spectacularly ignorant statements - as Ms. Hannah-Jones did - about the government of one of the world's most racist dictatorships (a government which talks a talk of equality while walking a walk of institutionalized racism against its own Black population) without even mentioning the issue of racism... or is Ms. Hannah-Jones' case praising the socialist dictatorship!

Ms. Hannah-Jones should learn about the Cuban version of the 1619 Project, which in Cuba's case would have been called the 1511 Project, as that was when Spanish Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar set out from Hispaniola to establish the first Spanish settlement in Cuba, and brought the first African slaves to the island.

Since then and to its present day, Cuba has a long and agonizing history of racial issues, starting with its long bloody history of slavery, which didn't end on the island until 1886, and continuing through its freedom from Spain, birth of the Republic, and the triumph of the Castro Revolution in 1959. It continues to this day.

Cuba even had its own race war.

Antonio Maceo


General Antonio Maceo, known as "the Bronze Titan." He was the true warrior leader of the Cuban Wars of Liberation. His father was white of French ancestry; his mother was black, of Dominican ancestry. After the first Cuban Liberation War ended in a truce with Spain, some say that Maceo was so disillusioned with the realities of life in Cuba as a black man, that he left Cuba and lived in Panama, until he was called back to lead the Cuban rebels in a new rebellion in 1895. He returned to Cuba and was killed in battle against the Spanish Army in 1896.

In 1912, Black Cubans in Oriente province had enough of the new Cuban government's racist practices and the degrading treatment of Cuban black veterans, who had been the bulk of the Cuban rebels in the wars of independence against Spain. The Cuban government moved on a path of genocide and eventually the United States had to send in troops to end the war between the white Cuban government and the black rebels in Oriente.

As I recall from the CIA Factbook of 1959, on that year the island was about 70% white, about 20% black and mixed, and the rest Chinese, Jewish and other. The Cuban Diaspora which started a few months after the Castro takeover and continues to this day, with the exception of the Mariel boat lift of the 1980s, saw a mass exodus of mostly white Cubans, and as a result the island's racial balance shifted dramatically and although 65% of Cubans self-identify as white in recent censuses, many experts estimate that today the island is actually about 60% black or biracial.

But Cuba's black population has not seen a proportionate share of the power and a quick review of the governing Politburo/Parliament reveals few black faces in the crowd. 

In fact, "the Cuban cultural journal Temas published studies by the governmental Anthropology Centre in 2006 that showed that on average, the black population has worse housing, receives less money in remittances from abroad and has less access to jobs in emerging economic sectors like tourism, in which blacks represent barely five percent of managers and professionals, than the white population."
"I think silence is worse. The longer nothing is said, the more the racism fermenting underground is rotting the entire nation..."

Gerardo Alfonso
singer/songwriter
Havana
While the Cuban constitution of the 1940s (since then abolished by the Communist government) outlawed segregation and racism on paper, and the current Cuban Constitution guarantees black Cubans the right to stay in any hotel and be served at any public establishment, as it has been documented by many foreign journalists, black Cubans will tell you in private that those rights exist only on paper. They would have told Ms. Hannah-Jones during her visit to Cuba in 2008 - but she probably didn't notice that nearly everywhere that she visited, the presence of the Cuban government was not far, and people fear that presence.

The harsh Cuban reality today, Black Cubans will tell you, is that "black Cubans won't be served" and that Cubans, regardless of race are in general barred from places frequented by tourists.
Unfortunately, these things [disparities in the treatment of blacks and whites] are very common in Cuba.

Ricardo Alarcón Quesada
President of the National Assembly of People's Power
Cuban Parliament
Do these Cuban voices from within Cuba itself sound like the subjects of a government whose murdering tyrants' atrocities should be dealt with in silence? -- especially in view of our nation's own racial history and what Ms. Hannah-Jones so expeditiously attempted to document in her controversial 1619 Project? 
We have practically apartheid in this country sometimes... racism is deeply rooted in Cuba's history and will not disappear overnight.

Rogelio Polanco Fuentes
Director
Cuban Communist Party-owned Juventud Rebelde newspaper.
What would she say if she had discovered the "permanent and shameful police harassment of young Cubans of African descent in our streets..." as noted by Leonardo Calvo Cardenas, the Cuban National Vice-Coordinador of the Citizens' Committee for Racial Integration (Comité Ciudadanos por la Integración Racial (CIR))?

As Omar López Montenegro, the Black Cuban director of Human Rights for the Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana recently stated in the Panama Post:
The situation for Black Cubans worsened after Castro assumed power... even though there were always racial issues, before Castro in Cuba there had been Black governors, a President of the Senate, Martín Morua Delgado, and also many Congressmen such as the labor leader Jesús Menéndez, a member of the Socialist Party. 

When Cuba became a Communist dictatorship, and democracy was lost, the advance of Black Cubans came to a halt. 

And this is what makes it even more maddening to a pedantic Virgo like me -- when even the lackeys of the Cuban dictatorship like Alarcon Quesada and Black voices from within the brutalized island speak out, knowing that there will be consequences - as Zurbano discovered after his New York Times opinion piece - why does Ms. Hannah-Jones live in this rose-colored atmosphere where she perceives the poor jailed island as an example of equality?

Does she know that even though about 60% of Cubans are Black or brown, that 94.2% of the students at the University of Havana are white?  Is she aware - as evidenced by the hundreds of videos one can see at #SOSCuba, that the epicenters of the demonstrations in most Cuban cities during this historic uprising are in the Black neighborhoods? Does she know about Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, a young Black Cuban from La Güinera who was arrested and then murdered by the Cuban police? When notified that her son was dead, his mother committed suicide. Does she know that her own newspaper, The New York Times documented a few years ago how Black Cubans are routinely discriminated in Cuba? Is she aware that while 48% of white Cubans have an annual income of less that $3,000 USD, a whooping 95% of Black Cubans fall below that incredible line?

By the way... In 1959 Cuba had the third-highest per capita income in Latin America, exceeded only by Argentina and Venezuela (around $550 a year back then which is about $5,170 in today's dollars). In 1959 that was also higher than Italy, Japan, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal and every single Eastern European nation in the Soviet bloc.

Nikole Hannah-Jones now has an opportunity to clear the air, clear her mind, clear her perception and gain instant respect from Cubans of all races. All she has to say is that she's learned a lot since the statements that she made in 2019 surfaced during the current Cuban uprising - which as video evidence clearly shows, appears to involve Cubans of all races - and state that she was wrong and is now aware of the sorry and sad state of the Marxist government's deeply rooted racism.

Boom! Case closed.