Building on recent events, this timely exhibition reflects more than twenty-five Cuban artists’ ruminations on the quotidian, social, and political realities of the island and the contemporary world. The island geography and political intensity of Cuba inform the work in a way that is immediately identifiable, often concealing coded, even subversive, ideas while simultaneously celebrating the richness of Cuba’s cultural identity. Peeling away the layers of Cuban art often reveals a story of struggle caused by the US embargo and its economic and political consequences, the social upheaval that a true revolution produces.
Spanning several generations, these contemporary Cuban artists come from an unusual place: a country embargoed by our own because of its socialist revolution. All of the artists in this collection grew up in socialist Cuba, and many graduated from the prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte, built at the beginning of the revolution, Havana’s equally excellent San Alejandro Art Academy or the Escuela Nacional de Arte. Others graduated from local art schools. Despite their disparate backgrounds, aesthetic sensibilities, subject matter, materials, and styles, there is something uniquely Cuban about the art in this collection.
Mid-America Arts Allliance co-organized Arte Cubano with the Center for Cuban Studies (NYC) to synthesize two extraordinary private collections held by Kathy and Marc LeBaron and Karen and Robert Duncan. This exhibition could not have been made possible without their collecting vision and loan generosity. The Center for Cuban Studies opened in 1972 and was organized by a group of scholars, writers, artists, and other professionals, in response to the effects of US policy toward Cuba.
A Program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30
5:30 PM – 8 PM
PROFESSOR SILVIA PREDRAZA LECTURE – 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Silvia Pedraza, Professor of Sociology and American Culture at the University of Michigan, will speak on generational politics, tracing shifts and differences in the attitudes and experiences of Cuban islanders and those who left. Meet in the KAC Library.
SALSA DANCE PARTY – 6:30 PM – 8 PM
Salsa was born in Cuba, built on Afro-Cuban rhythms and earlier dance forms like són. Today, salsa is all over the globe, practiced with styles as unique as the places it’s found in. Join South Bend Latin Dance for a lively demonstration at 6:30 PM, followed by a mini dance lesson. No partner, experience, or coordination required! Practice your new moves throughout the remainder of the party! Small bites and cash bar available.
South Bend Latin Dance is based in South Bend and serves a larger regional community. They honor salsa and Latin dance in all its forms and welcome dancers of all backgrounds and abilities
COFFEE WITH THE CURATOR
MONDAY, DECEMBER 3
Join KAC Deputy Director & Curator, Tami Miller, for an informative tour in the galleries. Learn about the selected artworks, the artists who made them, and how their work informs our understandings of Cuba today.
IN THE artlab: ALLISON SVOBODA
In this extended exhibition, Allison Svoboda’s ethereal collaged paper mandalas remain on view through February 3. If you have not seen the show already, be sure to visit. Svoboda uses ink paintings and fine papers to build delicately layered flower-like shapes that float off the gallery walls.