Thursday, February 22, 2007

María Magdalena Campos-Pons

Spoken Softly with Mama, 1998, mixed-media installation. Courtesy of the artist and National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Opening this weekend, the first full-scale survey of the acclaimed Afro-Cuban artist’s work, IMA’s María Magdalena Campos-Pons: Everything Is Separated by Water presents 34 paintings, sculptures, new media installations and large-format Polaroid photographs, all created since Campos-Pons left Cuba for North America in 1990.

From the IMA's website:

One of the most important artists to emerge from post-Revolutionary Cuba, María Magdalena Campos-Pons re-assembles fragments and symbols of personal and collective memories to grapple with her imagined displacement from Africa, her actual exile from Cuba, and her experience as a black Cuban woman living in North America. Her conceptually based works transcend pure biography or identity politics. When she uses personal experience as the basis for projects, she does so to speak about larger cultural and historical phenomena.

The title of the exhibition and its catalogue, borrowed from one of her works, evokes the dangerous sea crossings faced by her enslaved African ancestors and by her Cuban contemporaries seeking greater freedom in America. It also evokes the sense of dislocation felt when physical and geopolitical barriers separate the past from the present, and family from friends—conditions that, though painful, have fostered important creative innovations by artists of diasporic communities around the world.

Brief run-down of this weekend's activities:

Friday at 9 pm: I'm very much looking forward to the opening party and reception for the artist. Chic attire. $15 members/$25 non-members. Cuban-inspired Cocktail Buffet / Cash bar. Enjoy the eclectic grooves of DJ Le Spam and The Spam Allstars. This Miami-based group blends improvisational electronic elements and turntables with latin, funk, hip hop, and dub to create a unique and spicy sound.

Saturday at 3 pm: World premiere performance of María Magadalena Campos-Pons' Regalos/Gifts. A regalo is a gift, a gesture that extends the self into the other as a way to communicate. The artist's body forms a bridge, an informational memory line, to the audience. Free.

The bad news is, regular admission to this exhibition is $12 (what???). Good news is you can click the PDF link here for a coupon good for 2-for-1 admission.

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