Art Exhibition—“Visionary Aponte: Art & Black Freedom”


The collective exhibition “Visionary Aponte: Art & Black Freedom” will be on view from December 8, 2017, to January 20, 2018. The opening will take place on December 8 from 10:00am until 12:00 noon at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, located at 212-260 NE 59th Terrace, Miami, Florida. In 2018, the exhibition will move to New York University’s King Juan Carlos of Spain Center, where it will be on view from February 21 to May 22.

Participating artists are José Bedia, Leonardo Benzant, Sanford Biggers, Juan Roberto Diago, Édouard Duval-Carrié, Alexis Esquivel Bermúdez, Teresita Fernández, Fabiola Jean-Louis, Nina Ángela Mercer, Clara Morera, Glexis Novoa, Marielle Plaisir, Renée Stout, Jean-Marcel St. Jacques, and Asser St. Val.

Description: Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom focuses on an extraordinary—and now lost—historical artifact: a “ Book of Paintings”  created by José Antonio Aponte, a free black carpenter, artists, and former soldier who was also the leader of an ambitious antislavery movement in Cuba during the Age of Revolution. During his trial, Aponte was forced to provide testimony describing each of the pictures in his book, which portrayed a wide array of subjects, from Biblical scenes to landscapes to episodes in the history of Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Using those descriptions, fifteen contemporary artists—working in painting, drawing, sculpture, video, mixed media, and textile—have reimagined Aponte’s book for our present, inviting us to think about the role of art and history in shaping social and political change.

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