Artist from Patio Pelegrín; 8″×11 1/8″; acrylic on canvas
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 5th to Sunday, April 2nd. This exhibition coincides with the Habana Boys performance on March 12th at 3pm in the Westermann Stage, Concert Hall. For tickets to that event you can visit: https://adelphi.secure.force.com/ticket/#details_a0SA000000Ropq4MAB
“After the monumental shift in US foreign policy that culminated in President Obama’s announcement of the normalization of relations with Cuba, there has opened a new opportunity for interaction between these two nations and their people. In the spirit of that interaction, Adelphi University sent a journalism course to Cuba in January of 2016 to explore stories that may have not reached a US, or even a global, audience. While much of this reporting was framed through the lens of describing and analyzing conditions in the present and in terms of what normalizing indicates for the future, this exhibition is the result of looking at current conditions by understanding the past.
Artists are some of the wealthiest Cubans, a fact I discovered while exploring Old Havana and Piñar Del Río, in talking with artists and those knowledgeable in the economics of the arts. This fact has shaped the way many Cubans have responded to economic troubles since the fall of the Soviet Union. With the ability to travel and with prominent international interest in Cuban art, artists are able to establish vibrant studios and exhibit their work abroad, allowing access to wealth well outside the scope of most Cubans.
This exhibition entitled “Centros Comunitarios Cubanos, Cuban Community Centers”, because, as it turns out, many community centers established for the support of the community through rough economic times have been developed as cultural centers premised in the arts.
I personally bought ten pieces and helped select the other two, all twelve obtained directly from the artists after hearing a bit about how they understood their art practices and studio environments. The collection itself thus grew out of my reporting for CubaStories.com, a website developed to house the videos and articles created for Adelphi’s Cuba in Transition field journalism course, for my piece Art in Cuba. While I was gathering interviews and footage for the short documentary I produced for the website, Art in Cuba, I got to hear from the artists themselves about the state of Cuban contemporary art. In purchasing the art, I wanted not only to show my support of their practices and repay their generosity for sitting for my interviews and filming in their places of work, and not only to acquire beautiful pieces of art, but also to support an industry that is itself supporting many regional communities in important ways.
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 90 miles have much more in common than they many of us in the U.S. generally imagine.”