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    Artists put Cuba’s painful history of suppression on display with new exhibit

    Artists put Cuba's painful history of suppression on display with new

    Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art will show pieces from 19 influential
    Cuban artists
    Ryan Imondi | Scene Reporter
    Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Last week, while the majority of campus was on break, the Jordan
    Schnitzer Museum of Art unveiled "Diaspora, Identity, and Race: Cuba Today."

    The exhibition features new works from contemporary Cuban artists who
    focus on issues of racism, homophobia and other problems occurring in
    Cuban society that have been silenced by the Cuban government over the
    last few decades.

    Remaining on display until June 21, the exhibition's main purpose is to
    give current Cuban artists a platform to express their feelings toward
    the state of the country. After the Cuban revolution in 1959, the
    government officially declared that issues of racism, sexism,
    prostitution and poverty had all been solved. In reality, many of these
    problems persisted. Because of the government's claims, many of these
    topics were taboo to talk about. The art featured in the Schnitzer
    exhibit is a representation of the artists' feelings and emotions of
    growing up in a society where addressing such issues was strongly

    "Only recently in the past 20 or 30 years have artists started to come
    forward and discuss these issues openly in their work and sometimes to
    very severe punishments," said Ashley Gibson, exhibit curator.

    The exhibit combines quite a few different art forms, including
    sculpture, video, paintings, photography and a few others to accurately
    depict the feelings of the artists.

    "Hopefully all this work sitting together can kind of inform some large
    conversation about racism or other social issues," Gibson said. "While
    it's definitely getting the word out there about what's going on in
    Cuba, people can take this and kind of relate it to their own experiences."

    Gibson, a University master's student with a contemporary art history
    focus, started working on the exhibit in the fall. Working with the
    executive director of the Schnitzer, Jill Hartz, Gibson was able to use
    pre-existing art that was stored in the museum's collection, while also
    bringing in a number of new pieces. There are a total of 28 pieces in
    the exhibit.

    The exhibit takes pieces from as far back as 1990 but focuses on more
    recently produced art — some as new as from 2010. A total of 19 artists,
    all Cuban-born, are featured. Each artist brings a unique perspective to
    the exhibit with some artists considered some of Cuba's most
    influential, while others are relatively new aspiring artists.

    Almost every artist in the exhibit is considered to be part of a
    generation in Cuba that endured economic hardship brought on by the fall
    of the Soviet Union. After Cuba lost roughly 80 percent of its trade
    because of the fall of its powerful ally, the country's living
    conditions dropped significantly. Many of the artists from this
    generation created their art with little money and limited resources.
    Most of the pieces on display project the strong emotional reaction to
    the two decades that have followed that time period.

    The exhibit is sponsored by The Americas in a Globalized World
    Initiative and the Department of Romance Languages, along with the

    Anyone interested in seeing "Cuba Today" or any other exhibit can
    partake in a visit during the museum's free first Friday, April 1.

    Tag: Repression


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