Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Go See Manuel Mendive!

I visited the California African American Museum (CAAM), and saw Things That Cannot Be Seen Any Other Way: The Art of Manuel Mendive.   What's great about CAAM is that admission is FREE, which is always a good thing during these tough economic times.  However, I would have gladly paid to see the work of Manuel Mendive, a Cuban artist, exploring Afro-Carribean themes. 

The work is deeply rooted in spirituality and magic.  There is a deep sense of transformation occurring in the work, leaving me with a great sense of awe.  Perhaps because I'm a Divinity student that I recognized something familiar in the art.  The paintings seemed to say we are connected to something higher, bigger, brighter than ourselves.

These ghostly masks were part of the exhibition.  I love their crescent moon-like faces. 

From the press release:

The exhibition is centered on the 50-year career of the prominent Afro-Cuban artist Manuel Mendive. This is the first exhibition in the United States to focus exclusively on the contemporary visual and material culture of the Afro-Cuban religion Lukumí, and the general way in which the cultures of the countries of the African Diaspora through telluric and mystically-charged subjects. The selected works at CAAM have rarely been exhibited together.

Emerging from a generation of Cuban artists who studied at Cuba's San Alejandro National School of Fine Arts, Mendive is highly regarded as one of the foremost contemporary artists in Cuba and the Caribbean.

"It is an honor for me to exhibit my work at such a well-respected cultural institution as the California African American Museum. I cannot give enough praise to all who have contributed to the success of the exhibition and its opening," said Mendive through an interpreter.

The show runs through October 20, 3013. 

Manuel Mendive with one of his paintings

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