Renowned Cuban artist Manuel Mendive explores African influence in his exhibition, “Things that Cannot be Seen Any Other Way: The Art of Manuel Mendive” [Cosas que no pueden ser vistas de ninguna otra manera: el arte de Manuel Mendive] and a performance/procession entitled “Water (Homage to the Waters)” [Agua (Homenaje a las aguas)] at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami. Curated by Bárbaro Martínez-Ruiz (director of Orbis Africa Advanced Research Center, Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University) the exhibition will be open until January 25, 2014.
According to Arte al Día, this exhibition—centered on the prominent Afro- Cuban artist’s 50-year career—is the first of its kind in the United States, combining long-term incorporation of visual culture, active performance, and material from the Afro-Cuban religion.
Description: The exhibition follows Mendive’s trajectory through his drawings, paintings, sculpture, and performances from the early 60’s to the present, with special attention on certain repeated themes that are common throughout his work, including religion, identity, and memoriam, as well as the production of styles in which his work can be categorized. The exhibition explores the phenomena of criollismo, hybridity and syncretism through the twentieth century to the present in the chronicle of Afro-Cuban art iconography and an examination of the influence of both Western and African art practices in Cuban art. It also highlights the role played by race and identity politics, and resistance by African descendants in indigenous art.
According to Carol Damian, director of the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, “Manuel Mendive unites the body of the human being with the land that generated it, with plants and animals, with water and the sky, with Mother Nature, in which he is a creature among creatures, and in it, he finds the reason, the time and space of his own existence. It is a totalizing concept of art in which the pictorial is combined with body and soul to reach an intense emotional weight, where art and spirit reflect the harmony and peace of soul.”