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Queloides / Keloides

Raza y racismo en el arte cubano contemporáneo

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  • Ciudad: Pittsburgh
  • Fechas: 15/10/2010 - 27/02/2011

Raza y racismo en el arte cubano contemporáneo
Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art
Opening Reception: Friday, October 15, 2010 [18:00 h. - 21:00 h.] - $ 10.00
(MF Members, Pitt & CMU students free with I.D.)
From: Saturday, October 16, 2010
To: Sunday, February 27, 2011
500 Sampsonia Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Phone: + 412 231 31 69




Pedro Álvarez // Manuel Arenas // Belkis Ayón // María Magdalena Campos-Pons // Roberto Diago // Alexis Esquivel // Armando Mariño // René Peña // Marta María Pérez Bravo // Douglas Pérez // Elio Rodríguez // José Toirac - Meira Marrero


Curated by Alejandro de la Fuente & Elio Rodriguez Valdés


After decades of official silence, discussions of “race” and racism have become prominent in contemporary Cuba. Since the early 1990s, numerous cultural actors –musicians, writers, painters, performers, and academics– began to do something that was previously unthinkable: they began to denounce the persistence of racial discrimination in Cuban socialist society. These intellectuals have articulated the concerns of the Afro-Cuban youth, a population group that came to age in the early 1990s, precisely at the time that the socialist welfare state began to unravel. They have constituted a loose Afro-Cuban cultural movement that is using cultural spaces to raise uncomfortable questions about the persistence of racism in Cuba. Culture has become the space where a democratic future can be imagined and debated within the island.

Queloides / Keloids is an art exhibit that seeks to contribute to current debates about the persistence of racism in contemporary Cuba and elsewhere in the world. The exhibit will be hosted at the Centro Wifredo Lam in Havana (April 16 - May 31, 2010), then transferred to the Mattress Factory (October 15, 2010 - February 27, 2011). The twelve artists invited to participate are renowned for their critical work on issues of race, discrimination, and identity. Several of them collaborated in three important exhibits in Havana between 1997 and 1999 (titled Keloids I, Keloids II, and Neither Musicians nor Athletes). The last two were curated by the late Cuban art critic Ariel Ribeaux. All these exhibits dealt with issues of race and racism in contemporary Cuba, issues that had been taboo in public debates in the island for decades. Keloids are wound-induced, pathological scars. Although any wound may result in keloids, many people in Cuba believe that the black skin is particularly susceptible to them. Thus the title evokes the persistence of racial stereotypes, on the one hand, and the traumatic process of dealing with racism, discrimination, and centuries of cultural conflict, on the other hand. Queloides / Keloids includes several art forms –paintings, photographs, installations, sculptures, videos– and offers novel ways to ridicule and to dismantle the so-called racial differences.


Participant Organizations
The Wifredo Lam Center of Contemporary Art in Havana, Cuba, will host the opening of the exhibition in April 2010. The Center is a cultural institution dedicated to the study, research and promotion of contemporary visual arts from developing countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean. It is the organizer of the Havana Biennial. It was founded in 1983 as an homage to the great Cuban artist Wifredo Lam (1902 - 1982). The Center is housed in an eighteenth-century building, which was formerly the residence of the Counts of Peñalver. Located on Cathedral Square in Old Havana, the building has offices, spacious galleries, a library, a video library and areas for other cultural activities.

The Mattress Factory is a museum of contemporary art, founded in 1977, that provides a place and complete support for artists to take risks and explore new ideas. The museum’s primary concern is to enable each artist to exercise the creative process with as much freedom and support as possible. For emerging artists, this is often the catalyst that propels their work into the national limelight; and for well-established artists, a Mattress Factory residency provides the support they need to refresh their vision or take their work in new directions.

In 2004, the exhibition, Cuba: Artists in Residence, presented new installations by eleven artists living in Cuba. The museum partnered with the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Latin American Studies to present a range of public and educational programming for this exhibition. Because of restrictions imposed by the Bush administration, we were not able to bring any of the artists to work in residence but were able to present their new installations by working with them over the Internet.

For Queloides / Keloids, the Mattress Factory is again working in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, in particular with the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS). Founded in 1964, CLAS develops and coordinates resources on Latin America and the Caribbean that contribute to training experts on the region through high quality programs of graduate and undergraduate education. CLAS is one of the most outstanding programs of its kind in the nation, designated as a National Resource Center (NRC) on Latin America by the U.S. Department of Education. As a NRC on Latin America, CLAS provides opportunities for cultural and educational experiences that realistically reflect Latin America and the Caribbean to the K-12 educational community, colleges and universities, business and professional communities as well as to the general public as part of its Educational Public Service (Outreach) mission. The exhibit has also been supported by Pitt's Humanities Center, by the University Center for International Studies, and by the Central Research Development Fund.

Funding for the exhibit has been generously granted by: Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Christopher Reynolds Foundation-Atlantic Philanthropies, Lambent Foundation, Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and Heinz Endowments.


Alejandro de la Fuente is UCIS Research Professor of History and Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. His work on slavery and race relations in Cuba and Latin America has been published in Spanish, English, French, Italian, German and Portuguese. He is the author of A Nation for All: Race, Inequality and Politics in Twentieth Century Cuba (UNC Press, 2001) and of Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century (UNC Press, 2008).
Elio Rodríguez Valdés is a Cuban artist whose work explores the intersections of race, gender, nationalism, and globalization. His work, which has been showcased in numerous collective and solo exhibits in Cuba, Spain, the United States, Belgium, Great Britain, Brazil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, and Israel, is part of museum and private collections around the world.


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2010 [12:00 h. // 14:00 h.]
Roundtable Discussion
Wesley W. Posvar Hall 230 S. Bouquet St, University of Pittsburgh
In this roundtable, several of the artists participating in the art exhibit Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art discuss their participation in this project and issues of race and culture in  contemporary Cuba. Made possible by The Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Free.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2010 [18:00 h. // 21:00]
Exhibition Opening
Join the Mattress Factory for the opening reception of Queloides.
$10 (MF Members Free/Pitt & CMU students free with I.D.)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2010 [13:00 h. // 16:00h.]
Educator Open House
Teachers have the opportunity to view and tour Queloides, hear co-curator Alejandro de la Fuente speak about the process of organizing this show, and meet resident artists before they head back to Cuba. Pre-registration required. Call the Mattress Factory at 412.231.3169 for details. Act 48 hours available. Free.
OCTOBER 21 - 28 // NOVEMBER 4 - 11 [Thursday Evenings 16:30 h. // 20:30 h.]
Four-Part Teacher Professional Development Workshop
Participate in a hands-on, inquiry-based exploration of the art, artists, history, and contemporary politics of Cuba. Throughout this four-part workshop, participants will meet co-curator Alejandro de la Fuente, work with Cuban artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons, develop lesson plans, and further their personal and academic understanding of Cuban life and art. Pre-registration required. Call MF for details. Act 48 hours available. $35; includes dinner.
Film: East Of Havana
Doors Open at 18:00 h. Director Introduction & Film begin at 19:00 h.
Written and directed by Jauretsi Saizarbitoria and Emilia Menocal, East of Havana is a close-up look at the lives of three young rappers compelled to address their generation’s future from the confines of a Cuban ghetto. Made possible by The Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Free.
Hip-Hop Performance: Soandry 
The New Hazlett Theater Allegheny Square East 19:00 h. // 22:00 h.
Doors Open at 19:00 h. Performance begins at 20:00 h.
Cuban hip-hop artist Soandry, formerly of the duo Hermanos de Causa, performs for the first time in the United at the New Hazlett Theater. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn the stories of the struggles and the triumphs of a Cuban rapper. $12, MF Members plus one guest Free, Pitt & CMU students with I.D. $9 at the foor. Tickets available:
Film Series: Cuban Eyes / Cubanize: Fifty Years Of Cuban Cinema Since The Cuban Revolution
Join the center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh for a Cuban film series. All the films will be screened at 18:30 h. at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium – University of Pittsburgh, except for East of Havana on Oct. 21 at the Mattress Factory. The day of the screening changes from week to week due to the availability of the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. For a schedule of films and dates visit Free.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2010 [11:00 h. // 16:00 h.]
Mattress Factory Family Day
Hands-on activities & drop-in guided tours for the entire family! Free with museum admission.
Performance: Guillermo Gómez Peña / La Postra Nostra
Performance: 19:00 h. Discussion with Panelists:  20:00 h.
Guillermo Gomez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, and educator. He has pioneered multiple media, including performance art, experimental radio, video, performance photography and installation art. $10 (MF Members Free/Pitt & CMU students free with I.D.)
Discussion: Dr. Robert Thompson
Tour of Queloides: 18:00 h. Discussion: 19 :00 h.
Join Dr. Robert Thompson in a discussion about the history of art in the Afro-Atlantic world. His first book, Black Gods and Kings, was a close iconographic reading of the art history of the forty million Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria. $10 (MF Members Free/Pitt & CMU students free with I.D.)


Tuesday - Sundays, during museum hours Book group tours of Queloides! Contact for more information or visit
Every third Saturday of the Month 13:00 h. // 16:00 h.
Drop by the MF lobby to participate in hands-on activities related to the art and artists of Queloides. Free with museum admission.

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Queloides / Keloides

Queloides / Keloides.
Curatorial project by: Alejandro de la Fuente & Elio Rodriguez
Opening Reception: Friday, October 15, 2010 [18:00 h. - 21:00 h.]