April 20, 2011

Cuban Art Exhibition: Ajiaco at the Newark Museum, New Jersey

Ajiaco: Stirrings of the Cuban Soul 
Newark Museum, NJ 
June 8 - August 14, 2011 

In 1939, anthropologist Fernando Ortiz characterized Cuban culture as ajiaco, a rich stew consisting of a large variety of ingredients. The ingredients of the “stew” include Catholicism brought in by the Spaniards; the spirituality of the Yoruba slaves and their cultural traditions from Africa; and the Chinese indentured servants who brought Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. The base of the stew is the indigenous people, such as Tainos, who were almost wiped out by the Spaniards. 

AJIACO: STIRRINGS OF THE CUBAN SOUL is a survey of modern and contemporary Cuban artists that explores these rich cultural roots of Cuban art. In contemporary society, the “stew” has become thicker and richer as the influences become more complex and intermixed: the artist now borrows not only from the traditional cultures that populated the island, but also appropriates from contemporary everyday life. The exhibition includes works by leading artists in a variety of media, from paintings, works on paper and photography to mixed-media sculpture and installations.

Curators: Gail Gelburd, Ph. D. Guest Curator, Zette Emmons, Project Director
Location: Brady and Eweson Galleries

49 Washington Street
in the Downtown / Arts District of Newark
Newark, New Jersey


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Myths, Legends and Cuban Culture.
The New York Times, Arts/New Jersey, By Martha Schwendener, Published July 29th, 2011.

A very objective review by Martha Schwendener's. "We miss the effects of the revolution
and later developments, and how these made art of the Cuban diaspora even more of an
ajiaco" , a wonderful phrase for Ms. Schwendener's to end her review with.
Ajiaco is a cuban stew made with beef and vegetables. It was part of the cuban staple
before Castro, although It is very likely not many cubans have a good recollection of what
it tasted like, due to the cuban food rationing.
Ms. Gail Gelburd, Ph.D., organizer and curator of the exhibition, may have had the opportunity
to taste a real savory Ajiaco. She travel regularly to Cuba in her research of cuban art and has
been a guest lecturer at the Havana Biennale, Havana University, and Casa Africa in Cuba,
both run by the Communist government. She is welcomed in Cuba, something not all in
similar positions like her, are.
Someday, when democracy reings in Cuba, all cuban art will be shown as part of the real
cuban art Ajiaco.

Orlando Comas
Miami, Florida.

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