Lo que oculta la historia / What History Hides
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In turn, Diago came to think of his art as his own, self-made skin. Diago began exploring issues of racial discrimination early in his career, relying on graffiti to express anger and pain. Designed from the perspective of an elite white bourgeoisie, Castro, et al. The rejection of African-based cultural forms has a long history in Cuban national culture.
Already in the s, Gustavo E. On the contrary, their interests derived from international artistic trends, assimilated in many cases while studying abroad in Madrid, Paris, or New York. Long live the conga, the mulata, and fried plantain, but down with the Negro! The Revolution of failed to change this predicament.
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A common denominator of these designs is the appropriation of elements of African traditional cultures such as a mask, fetish, or a human figure wearing indigenous clothing , in combination with modern weaponry ever-present Soviet-manufactured Kalashnikov machine-gun and anti-aircraft artillery, rifles, and grenades. Here the traditional motifs are featured in a dignified way, proudly announcing the effective coexistence of the old and the new. And yet this proud borrowing of images of ancestral power occurred at the same time that the communist authorities were cracking down and actively prosecuting Afro-Cuban religious practices.
Organized by artist Alexis Esquivel and curator Omar-Pascual Castillo, it was the first exhibition to address the issue of racism in the context of a social revolution that claimed to have solved it. Here was a generation of black artists who felt disenfranchised, not necessarily by the lack of institutional support but rather by their inability to speak their minds. Harsher living conditions precipitated by the economic crisis brought on by the breakup of the Soviet Union, which had provided a financial lifeline to the Castro regime for nearly a decade, came to highlight that the socialist doctrine only produced cosmetic changes to centuries-old racism.
For instance, in the series White Things , he uses white objects pearl necklace, teapot, cigarette as props to create images of desire that go against his own, undermining the notion of self portrait. As for Esquivel, trained as a pedagogue as well as an artist, his work dug onto the troubled and silenced history of race in Cuba, including the hateful massacre by Cuban troops of several thousand members of the Independent Party of Color in Roberto Diago was an important presence in the Queloides I exhibition.
His work, however, avoided representational images, instead focusing on gesture, technique, and materiality to reflect on the dynamics of memory and oblivion in relation to race. Early on, he had decided to work in the realm of language, employing formal and metaphorical means to insert historical references.
This has been his modus operandi to this day. For instance, in the painting Untitled , Diago vertically places a rope in the middle of the picture, virtually splitting it in two. The rope is a motif loaded with historical connotations of racism as it was used traditionally to separate whites from blacks in public ballrooms. In other works the rope appears cut or loose, as if to render it useless. In Untitled , from the series The Power of Your Soul , he meticulously glues patches of fabric onto the canvas or linen. He repeats the same procedure in many other works.
Neuheiten, Bestseller, Bildung
Patches are irregular, and sometimes they become strips ranging from wide to slender, even to threads. On these picture planes, Diago arranges them in regular orders, such as grids or stacks. But what stands out from these compositions is the glue, which pushes onto the foreground after trespassing the fabric.
By doing this, Diago equates the porosity of fabric to that of a skin. In another series, The Skin that Talks , Diago uses patches in black, white, or both; this time around they are sewn to one another but never fully integrated into one piece.
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
Knotted threads and ropes are here visible. Yet here too Diago refers to the black skin through the notion of the queloide. In Africa, this peculiar characteristic gave birth to rich traditions of scarification for ritualistic and aesthetic purposes. After Europeans used them to mark enslaved people as property, these protuberances became markers of race, and Cuban people hid them out of shame.
As a metaphor, welding implies the pain of scarification through the transformation of metal. Rough surfaces undergo a process of melting through fire. Forging is pain, yet it also yields beauty. Using a different approach in Ascending City , Diago fills the gallery space with a sprawling installation of burned wooden boxes, forming mounts of varying heights that clutter the floor or climb up the antiseptic white walls.
Evoking ghostly African villages burned by radical Boko Haram, or abandoned shantytowns in Cuba or the United States or elsewhere, the installation is a metaphor of living communities made unlivable. Fire makes them all look the same, black, which is to say, poignantly beautiful in their difficult peculiarity. Moore, Nationalizing Blackness.
Afrocubanismo and artistic revolution in Havana, — Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, : These schools prepared students for middle-level art school, or specialized academies, such as San Alejandro in Havana. Starting in , the Higher Institute of Art became the only school dedicated to higher education in the arts and remains so to this day. Moore, 3. Moore, Because we guarantee you will like it and continue to want to read it. Best Book of October Leigh Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.
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