Cuban Artists Discuss Queloides Exhibit at CLACS Artist Roundtable

elio rodriguez - car - QueloidesQueloides is an art exhibition that investigates race and racism in contemporary Cuba. Cuban artists, including musicians, writers, painters, performers, and academics, have been denouncing the persistence of racial discrimination in Cuban socialist society since the early 1990s. Queloides, curated by Alejandro de la Fuente and Elio Rodriguez, brings together artists whose work actively confronts racism in contemporary Cuba.

Queloides is currently on exhibition at the Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, PA. On October 22nd, Queloides artists Marta María Pérez Bravo, Elio Rodríguez, Armando Mariño, and René Peña participated in a CLACS sponsored artist roundtable at NYU. Ana María Dopico, CLACS affiliated faculty and Associate Professor in NYU’s Spanish and Portuguese department, moderated the event.

maria-perez-bravo.gifDuring the roundtable, artists discussed their work, artistic process and inspirations. Marta María Pérez Bravo is a photographer whose work investigates the intersections between the Afro-Cuban religions of Santeria and Palo Monte, and Cuban Yoruba traditions brought by African slaves. Pérez Bravo’s most recent series of photographs, shown in Queloides, navigate what she describes as the “enigmatic language of popular spiritual beliefs in Cuba.”

elio-rodriguez.gif Elio Rodriguez is a mixed-media artist who built a site-specific installation, as well as sculptures, for Queloides. Rodriguez’s installation incorporates multiple large, black inflated tubes that explode out of the top story of the Mattress Factory Museum. He described his inspiration for this piece as wanting to “conceptualize the museum as a body.” His work investigates racial identities, especially the relationship between black men and mulatas.

img_rene_pena.gifRené Peña’s photographs are self-portraits that deal with identity and the self in relation to society. Peña has never received formal artistic instruction, and creates images based on “lo que veo en mi mente,”—translated, “what I see in my mind.” Armando Mariño is a New York-based painter. His drawing and paintings play with “the symbolic status of painting and its capacity to, at once, trivialize and monumentalize human drama.”

The exhibition opened in Havana, Cuba in 2010 and will be on display at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, PA through February 27, 2011.
Read more about the event at the Mattress Factory

Posted by Von Diaz – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU

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