Juan Roberto Diago: retrospective exhibition

In “Juan Roberto Diago exhibe una retrospectiva por primera vez en Estados Unidos” [Juan Roberto Diago exhibits a retrospective for the first time in the United States] Rialta writes about Cuban artist Juan Roberto Diago, whose exhibition—“Diago: The Pasts of this Cuban Present”—was curated by Alejandro de la Fuente at Harvard University, running from October 24, 2019, through January 19, 2020, and then at the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum. Now, his retrospective exhibition opened at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, where it will be on view until July 2022. [Also see previous posts Art Exhibition: Diago and Diago.] Here are translated excerpts from Rialta.

Artist Juan Roberto Diago (1971), one of the most prominent creators of Cuban contemporary art, opened Diago: The Pasts of this Afro-Cuban Present, his first retrospective exhibition, at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, where it will be [on view] until July 2022.

The exhibition, made up of 22 pieces, makes this stop on its journey after passing through Harvard University and being exhibited in Miami. He arrived at the first institution thanks to Cuban professor Alejandro de la Fuente, director of the Harvard Afro-Latin American Research Institute.

Through him, Andrea Herrera, a professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, learned about the exhibition. According to The Gazette newspaper, a brief exchange between her and de la Fuente ended with her works traveling to “an area of ​​the country where Cuban art is not seen as often as it should be,” the professor said.

De la Fuente met Diago in 2007 and included him in a 2010 exhibition titled “Queloides: Race and Racism in Contemporary Cuban Art,” with pieces by Belkis Ayón, Pedro Álvarez, Manuel Arenas, Alexis Esquivel, Armando Mariño, Marta María Pérez, René Peña, Douglas Pérez, María Magdalena Campos, Elio Rodríguez, José Ángel Toirac, among others, and which brought together artistic approaches to the issue of race, racism and Cuban identity.

“After learning more about Diago’s work, I started working with him over the years and following his career. The closer I got to his work, the more it amazed me,” De la Fuente stated. “I always say that he is a fellow historian. It takes me 300 pages to explain what he can explain on canvas,” he added.

In this regard, De la Fuente and Diago will offer a conversation next April 15 at the Colorado Springs Center for Fine Arts.

Diago’s retrospective covers works made between the 1990s and 2019, representative of his interest in mixed media and installation.

Diago’s Cuba is a nation built on the pain, violation, greed, and enslavement of millions of displaced Africans, a nation still grappling with the long-term effects of slavery and colonialism, as the Colorado press release explains. “For him, slavery is not the past, but a daily experience of racism and discrimination,” it underlines.

Trained at the San Alejandro Academy in Havana, Diago received the Juan Francisco Elso Award from the National Museum of Fine Arts of Cuba in 1995, and since then has exhibited at such significant events as the Venice Biennale, the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) in Paris, ARCO Madrid, and FIAC Paris, as well as biennials in Havana and Dakar. [. . .]

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For full article (in Spanish), see https://rialta.org/juan-roberto-diago-exhibe-una-retrospectiva-por-primera-vez-en-estados-unidos/#

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