This exhibition, curated by current Adelphi Art Student Daniel McElroy under the guidance of Art History Professor Maya Muratov, is a response to his experience on the Adelphi’s Cuba in Transition field journalism course and the art he collected while he was there.
The work will be on view from Sunday, March 5 to Sunday, April 2.
The opening will be March 7 from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
A reception will take place on March 12 from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. following the Habana Boys performance at AUPAC.
After the monumental shift in US foreign policy that culminated in President Obama’s announcement of the normalization of relations with Cuba, there’s new opportunity for interaction between the two nations and their people. In the spirit of that interaction, Adelphi University sent a Communications course to Cuba in January of 2016 to experience field journalism in action. From the trip I created Art in Cuba, a short documentary that won the Adelphi Film Festival and the Award for Best Editing and came home with
Artists have a special social position in Cuba. They are supported by a number of government institutions that have a powerful presence in Cuba’s art scene granting access to travel and providing organization and exhibition opportunities to Cuban artists. By having access to the international art market abroad and drawing dealers, collectors, and tourists to Cuba from all over the world, Cuban artists are able to make a much better living than many Cubans who get a menial salary from their government job. This exhibition entitled “Centros Comunitarios Cubanos, Cuban Community Centers” because many artists have established community centers premised in the arts to support their neighbors.
After hearing a bit about how each of the artists understood their art practices and community centers I gained an appreciation for the nuanced relationship each of the artists has with the extrinsic value and intrinsic meaning of their work and how that led them to make decisions in how to build their respective community centers.
I personally bought ten pieces and helped select the other two, all twelve obtained directly from the artists. While I was still on the bus on a highway in the middle of the Cuban countryside I realized that I had already begun collecting a number of artworks with complicated backgrounds and knew that I needed to curate a show. I want, above all, to share the passion and dedication each of the artists I met displayed; that feeling was is apparent in everything they do and that’s what makes their centers the vibrant places that they are. In collecting the art, I wanted not only to support their good and wholesome work and repay their generosity for taking the time to sit for interviews but share their spirit with the world.
This exhibition aspires to be a cultural connection, where the deeply established relationships between the U.S. and Cuba—historically from our colonial days through the present—culturally and artistically, if not always politically, are made apparent and are rekindled in this time of renewed political recognition. There may yet be a long road of political negotiation, argument, and compromise, but the people separated by as few as some 100 miles have much more in common than they many of us in the U.S. generally imagine.