Ajiaco: Stirrings of the Cuban Soul at Newark Museum, NJ

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June 8 – August 14, 2011

Newark Museum

49 Washington Street,
Newark, NJ 07102-3176

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. This exhibition 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.

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