Las Energias de Arte de Cuba y Puerto Rico
Curated by Wilfred W. Labiosa, PhD
Paul Cezanne stated, “A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.” Throughout this exhibition, I hope that you can explore and feel the emotions, which I have taken the liberty to translate to “energies”, that exude from the art of Cuban and Puerto Rican artists. The artwork presented here reflect a diversity of energies. Some of the energies are defined by our faith and spirituality, while others are created by political views, gender, everyday life, and culture. I invite you to take time to explore the energies that characterize Cuba and Puerto Rico. Live and experience the energies expressed in each piece of work.
In the main exhibition hall are two master artists representing Cuban and Puerto Rican art. The late Newyorican (born in NY and raised in Puerto Rico) artist, Wilfred Labiosa, known for being a watercolorist depicting scenes of his beloved Old San Juan and Puerto Rican countryside. I have chosen pieces that depict the energies of his Impulsivismo, title for his original abstracts series, (translated into his “Impulses”). And from Cuba, Eduardo Roca Salagar, known as Choco, uses Santeria (Afro-Cuban religion) imagery, orishas (gods), and tones associated with the religion, to portray the circumstances of every day life in Cuba. Both artists are unique in their portrayal of the energies of their home countries and are “meeting” here, at CMCArts, for the first time.
In gallery one, Puerto Rican artist Seil Roman developed this project titled, “Hope will never be silent,” in honor of the struggles by LGBT+ people. Harvey Milk made famous this phrase during one of his speeches. “The Spirit of Him and all of those who have been in the fight add their energies to the movement and continue to inspire all of us.” The ashes portrayed reflect the diversity of the movement and each particle together represents the whole. The energies portrayed in the video performance inspire reflection about the movement towards social justice and equal human rights for all. Hope is alive, when we recognize Equity, Freedom & Equality.
There is so much Puerto Rican energy living in the USVI. One example of this energy will always live in the art of the late Carlos Juan “Tuna” Garcia. Tuna was a self-taught artist, born and raised in St Croix by his Puerto Rican family. In his art, you can feel the energy of the Caribbean through his exploration of flora and fauna. He is dearly missed but his art will always be with us.
All forms of art encompass the energy of the artist. Energies make us who we are; energies move us every day, and without them we wouldn’t be so unique, so human. You and I are energies. Explore the energies of art, explore your energies, today, and always!