During the Caribbean Studies Association 2016 conference I met a number of brilliant young Haitian-Americans, including a 20-something Cornell PhD candidate whose project focuses on Black feminist political theory in contemporary novels by Caribbean authors. Her mother emigrated from Haiti before she was born and left the country permanently in the early aughts. I had to admit to her my ignorance of the precise details of Haitian history that motivated her mom to leave Haiti.
Manuel Couceiro Prado was a painter and the founder of the Grupo Antillano (1978-1983), a group of Cuban artists who were trying to establish the African and Caribbean context of Cuban national identity. He was radicalized against Batista in 1952 and was a founding member of the July 26th Movement.
As a post cuban revolutionary artist, Prado channels the instability of his times into his artwork. This can be seen In his work Untitled, where life like figures are exaggerated into each other, founding a feeling of insecurity.
Examine Prado’s artwork and check out the award-winning documentary Black and Cuba. The film provides much needed information on the Cuban Revolution, which has shaped and influenced Prado’s artwork. Knowledge on the Cuban revolution is vital to understanding his works of art.
Above, to the left is the oil on canvas painting “Untitled” / “Sin título” (Manuel Couceiro, Untitled / Sin título, oil on canvas, 107 x 152 cm., ca. 1970.)
To the right is the artist Manuel Couceiro Prado.
Progressive Pupil is looking forward to celebrating AfroLatin@ Heritage Month in September and we need your help! Artists, teachers, activists, local business leaders, we want to hear your stories about working for racial justice in your community and share your struggles and triumphs with our readership. Essays, photo journals, film reviews and creative fiction are all welcome. Please limit submissions to 750 words or less and include at least one photo or video. Send submissions to: email@example.com
Latino and Caribbean art is largely ignored in most mainstream museums. El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem was founded in order to provide a venue that highlights these under-represented art forms. The curators of El Museo work to “collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret the art and artifacts of Caribbean and Latin American cultures for posterity.” They also provide educational opportunities for the community, expand knowledge of Latino and Caribbean art forms, and foster interest and passion in young community members.
El Museo del Barrio, along with Queens Museum of Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem, is featuring an exhibit entitled Caribbean: Crossroads of the World. Displaying 500 pieces of art from over 400 years, the exhibit takes the viewer on a three-museum exploration of “…the diverse and impactful cultural history of the Caribbean basin and its diaspora.” The exhibit touches on topics ranging from cultural hybridity to politics to pop culture. It is broken up into five sections based on theme, such as Shades of History – which discusses the history of race in the Caribbean – or Patriot Acts – which discusses creole culture and identity.