Art Exhibition: Queloides/Keloids

Queloides/Keloids: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art is taking place at the Wifredo Lam Center for Contemporary Art in Havana on April 16-May 31, 2010. It will later travel to the United States, to the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it will be on view from October 8, 2010 until February 27, 2011.

Queloides/Keloids is an art exhibit that contributes to current debates about the persistence of racism in contemporary Cuba and elsewhere in the world. The twelve artists invited to participate are renowned for their critical work on issues of race, discrimination, and identity. Several of them collaborated in three important exhibits in Havana between 1997 and 1999 (titled “Keloids I”, “Keloids II”, and “Neither Musicians nor Athletes”). The last two were curated by the late Cuban art critic Ariel Ribeaux. “Keloids” are wound-induced, pathological scars. Although any wound may result in keloids, many people in Cuba believe that black skin is particularly susceptible to them. Thus the title evokes the persistence of racial stereotypes, on the one hand, and the traumatic process of dealing with racism, discrimination, and centuries of cultural conflict, on the other hand. Queloides/Keloids includes several art forms–paintings, photographs, installations, sculptures, videos–and offers novel ways to dismantle the so-called racial differences.

The participating artists are Pedro Álvarez, Manuel Arenas, Belkis Ayón, María Magdalena, Juan Roberto Diago, Alexis Esquivel, Armando Marino, Marta María Pérez, René Peña, Douglas Pérez, Elio Rodríguez, and José A. Toirac.

Queloides/Keloids is a collaboration between Cuba’s Wifredo Lam Center for Contemporary Art and the Mattress Factory, working in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS). It is curated by Alejandro de la Fuente and Elio Rodriguez Valdés.

Alejandro de la Fuente is research professor of History and Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. His work focuses on slavery and race relations in Cuba and Latin America. He is the author of A Nation for All: Race, Inequality and Politics in Twentieth Century Cuba (2001) and of Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century (2008).

Elio Rodríguez Valdés is a Cuban artist whose work explores the intersections of race, gender, nationalism, and globalization. His work, which has been showcased in numerous collective and solo exhibits in Cuba, Spain, the United States, Belgium, Great Britain, Brazil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, and Israel, is part of museum and private collections around the world.

[Many thanks to Alanna Lockward for bringing this item to our attention.]

For full description of the exhibition and the exhibition venues, see http://www.mattress.org/index.cfm?event=ShowExhibition&eid=96&c=Upcoming

Also see http://www.queloides-exhibit.com/

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