Contemporary African Art in Havana

Text and Photos by Irina Echarry

Contemporary African Art in Havana.

HAVANA TIMES, May 15 — From a continent known for traditional symbolic production came to us a different type of exhibit. Pieces that mark the contemporaneity in African art —without ceasing to maintain its roots— are being exhibited this month in the Africa House of the Havana Office of the City Historian.

On display there are masks of wood and fiber that are used in ritual ceremonies, such as Muana Pwo, the first representation of the mythical woman of the Cokwe ethnic group in Angola; or the Bamoun mask of Cameroon, which is linked to the religion of that country and made of coins, wood and metal.

Also on view is a traditional door that reflects the Arab past of the Republic of Zanzibar, an oil painting by D. Sibanda from Zimbabwe, as well as audio-visual presentations that contain musical wealth as diverse as the peoples who form the African continent.

According to specialist Lazara Menendez, who inaugurated the exhibition, “The plurality of speech allows us to recognize diversified aesthetic experiences that nurture new re-conceptual readings of cultural legacy.” In this way we can enjoy everything from the most artisanal creations to technological advances traveling across dissimilar spaces of art in Africa, a pluri-cultural continent. “All that is lacking are works of art produced by women – an absence to keep in mind.”

The Africa Museum is devoted to research and the promotion of African culture and its impact in the formation of Cuban culture.

Click on the tumbnails below to view all the photos in this gallery

3 thoughts on “Contemporary African Art in Havana

  • Thanks as well Africa has no problems that cannot be solved when the colonizers leave..They have managed to take as much of the resources possible. beginning with our people ..Most of who look like me and bear this cross..??.But this is a new day..

  • 1 of Afrika’s biggest problem is that the multitude of nationalist struggles there — largely proclaimed as socialist, exactly as the cuban & other latin american 1s — did not have the huge advantage of being made on easily defensible, large islands (the main secret of England’s past power, for instance). So they failed to maintain their integrity. & the imperialists were able to regroup — & make deals with corruptible elements inside each newly-independent country. Because it is so easy to buy ambitious poor people… 1 of the other principle problems.

    However, capitalism is not an option — it has no future, other than slavery in 1 form or another. Afrika must still free itself from the imperialist yoke. No point pretending otherwise. Then maybe cubans will get more than tours of modern folk art — however well-crafted — from their friends across the water.

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