Ajiaco: Stirrings of the Cuban Soul


The Lyman Allyn Museum in New London, Connecticut, is hosting an exhibition of Cuban art sponsored by the Hispanic Alliance and curated by Gail Gelburd, Professor of Art History at Eastern Connecticut State University. The exhibit, which opened in September 12, runs through February 21, 2010.

The exhibition consists of more than fifty objects, including paintings, works on paper, photographs, sculpture, installations, and audio works by 22 artists. It features major figures in Cuban art like Wifredo Lam, Manuel Mendive, Jose Bedia and Sandra Ramos. The exhibition is tentatively scheduled to travel to two additional venues: the Chelsea Art Museum in New York City and the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

The curator, Dr. Gail Gelburd, writes, “Isolated and yet educated, restricted and yet heralded, the Cuban artist embodies the angst of their situation and yet embraces the loftiest of goals. Their syncretist tradition and heritage allows them to go beyond the monotheistic traditions in order to find the origins of their soul, the geist or inner spirit of their art.” Gelburd has been conducting research on Cuban art and artists for over fifteen years. She has regularly traveled to Cuba and has lectured there for the Havana Biennale, Havana University, and Casa Africa. Gelburd’s article “Cuba: The Art of Trading with the Enemy” appears in Art Journal in the Spring 2009 issue.

Also on view at the Lyman Allyn Museum is an exhibition of work by Imna Arroyo, titled Ancestors of the Passage, which will explore the socio-cultural beliefs of Caribbean culture. Raised in Puerto Rico but educated in the United States, Arroyo has been on a quest to visualize her heritage. Like so many other Puerto Ricans, she is of African and Taino descent. Knowing little of those cultures, she journeyed to Cuba where she found a strong acceptance and recognition of that heritage. Arroyo’s work visualizes the Diaspora, the African Orishas, and the spirits of her marginalized ancestors.

For more information and museum hours go to http://www.lymanallyn.org/exhibitions.html

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