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  • Nkame 2009 SFAsís | Belkis Ayón

    NKAME : BELKIS AYÓN. ANTHOLOGICAL EXHIBITION Convent of San Francisco de Asís, Old Havana, Havana, Cuba. ​ ​ September 11 to November 28, 2009 ​ Curator: Cristina Vives ​ Project Management: Dra. Katia Ayón Manso. Estate of Belkis Ayón. NATIONAL CURATORSHIP AWARD, 2009, granted by the National Council of Plastic Arts, Havana, Cuba. ​ General coordinator: Katia Ayón, Belkis Ayón Estate ​ In the book Los Ñañigos by Enrique Sosa Rodríguez, Casa de las Américas, 1982, page 249 (copy from the artist's bookshelf), Belkis Ayón marked, years before he died, in blue ink, the nkame that modern ñañigos inscribe along with the christian tomb of the dead abanekwe: ​ «Do not remember in your dream none of your brothers that mourn your absence. " ​ This Nkame, synonymous with praise and salutation in the Abakuá language, is the title of the exhibition (and the eponymous book in process of editing) that will pay tribute, on the tenth anniversary of her physical disappearance, to a creator who left with her death a message of life. The Belkis Ayón Estate and the City Historian's Office announce the inauguration of this anthological exhibition that will remain open to the public until November 28, 2009. The exhibition includes 83 works executed in the techniques of collography, lithography, and intaglio made between 1984, during her studies at the San Alejandro Academy, until the series carried out between 1998-1999, which constituted her last personal exhibition in Los Angeles, California. For the first time, all the large-format works that the artist produced since the beginning of her career will be seen as a whole, some of them accompanied by her sketches and notes. Belkis died at the age of thirty-two, leaving behind these essential works for the history of contemporary printmaking. The keys to her death remain a painful mystery for the international artistic community, which observed with admiration her successful rise to the most demanding circuits of art in the nineties. Religion and the Abakuá Secret Society, thematic sources of her work, are spaces created by men and only for men. They stigmatize and segregate women and, in turn, maintain strict discipline and maintain unassailable ethics and mystery. Belkis penetrated the space of the rite as far as she was allowed, and studied all the sources of information at her reach. As a result, she created a breathtaking iconography and interpreted the religious myth from her position as an artist, woman, black, and Latina in the late 20th century. According to the curator of the exhibition: "There is no doubt that Belkis used this theme to build a universal discourse against marginalization, frustration, fear, censorship, impotence and in favor of the search for freedom ..." ​ Written by: Cristina Vives. Curator.

  • confluencias inside | Belkis Ayón

    CONFLUENCES INSIDE Havana, Mexico, United States, Portugal November 2006 - 2010 ​ Cubarte Newsletter Year 7 Number 25, June 20, 2007 Exhibition "Confluencias" is presented in Mexico By: Nelson Herrera Ysla The exhibition "Confluencias", with works by 26 Cuban artists of various generations, has been inaugurated at the Museum of Modern Art of Toluca, of the Mexiquense Institute of Culture, after their presentations at the Clavijero Palace of the City of Morelia (where the idea for the project arose thanks to the enthusiasm of the Constitutional Governor of the State of Michoacán, Mr. Lázaro Cárdenas Batel) and at the José Luis Cuevas Museum in the Federal District. The exhibition, curated by Juan Delgado, had the advice of Elvia Rosa Castro, and an excellent catalog designed by the Cuban team Baus Diseño, printed in large format in Mexico. It brings together more than 70 works, mainly in painting as well as drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture and video by some of the most notable Cuban artists, from Alfredo Sosabravo and Manuel Mendive to Alain Pino, the youngest. Participating in it: Roberto Fabelo , Nelson Domínguez , Arturo Montoto, Belkis Ayón, Eduardo Roca , Ernesto Rancaño, Flora Fong, José A. Toirac, Lester Campa, Los Carpinteros, Luis Gómez, Pedro Pablo Oliva , Rigoberto Mena, Roberto Diago, Rubén Rodríguez, Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal, Zaida del Río , Carlos Quintana, Aymée García, Carlos Montes de Oca, Eduardo Ponjuán, Alexis Leyva (Kcho), Agustín Bejarano. Unfolded in over 400 square meters, the exhibition offers a synthetic panorama of recent productions of Cuban visuality where the two dimensions stand out from the rest, and in which it is possible to appreciate the strength of painting in our country, a phenomenon that today begins to gain notoriety in events and fairs around the world. ​ The large format of the works and the balance between various modes of expression contribute to their interest in the artistic and communication media as well as in the Mexican public: these allow us to reflect on Cuban visual arts and inform about our culture of the image in constant process of expansion. The inauguration was attended by Mr. Agustín Gasca Pliego, General Director of IMexC, Lic. Vivian Martínez Tabares, Cultural Counselor of the Cuban Embassy in that country, Laura Castañedo, Artistic Secretary of Ars Latina 2007 and Cuban artists invited to participate in this project that will take place during the month of June in Baja California. Also present were the curator of the exhibition Juan Delgado, the art critic Nelson Herrera Ysla and the artist Arturo Montoto. So much interest has aroused "Confluencias", whose original project was limited only to the city of Morelia, and today their presentations in the states of Tabasco and Guanajuato for this year 2007 are in the process of being coordinated. Source: CUBARTE ​ Participating artists: Agustín Bejarano, Aimée García, Alain Pino, Alexis Leyva (KCHO), Alfredo Sosabravo, Arturo Montoto, Belkis Ayón, Carlos Montes de Oca, Carlos Quintana, Eduardo Ponjuán, Eduardo Roca (CHOCO), Ernesto Rancaño, Flora Fong, José A, Toirac, Lester Campa, Los Carpinteros, Luis Gómez, Manuel Mendive, Nelson Domínguez, Pedro Pablo Oliva, Rigoberto Mena, Roberto Diago, Roberto Fabelo, Rubén Rodríguez, Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal, Zaida del Río.

  • without masks | Belkis Ayón

    WITHOUT MASKS Museum of Anthropology (MOA), University of British Columbia, Johannesburg Gallery of Art, Vancouver, Canada, Johannesburg, South Africa ​ May 2 - November 2, 2014 From May 2nd to November 2nd, 2014, the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, hosted the exhibition: Without Masks: Contemporary Afrocuban Art, The von Christierson Collection. Curated by Orlando Hernández, the exhibition exhibits the private collection of Contemporary Afro-Cuban Art, by the Englishman Chris von Christierson.

  • FRG Hudson | Belkis Ayón

    FRG: BELKIS AYÓN Gallery FRG OBJECTS & DESIGN / ART, Hudson, New York, United States. ​ August - September, 2014 The FRG OBJECTS & DESIGN / ART gallery, specialized in the art of design, from Hudson, New York, had the pleasure of presenting in August last year, a collection of visionary pieces, rarely appreciated in the United States, by the Cuban artist Belkis Ayón (Havana, 1967-1999), from the private collection of Carole and Alex Rosenberg. The pieces could be appreciated in an environment designed in parity, complete harmony, and connection with these masterpieces of contemporary Cuban printmaking. The exhibition opened to the public until September 30, 2014.

  • News | Belkis Ayón

    NEWS Belkis Ayón at the 34th São Paulo Biennial The 34th edition of the Sao Paulo Biennial will feature the work of Belkis Ayón (Havana 1967-1999). The event, one of the most prestigious in the world and an indisputable reference for the art of our continent, will host 16 works by the renowned Cuban artist. READ MORE February, 2020: Nkame arrives at the Chicago Cultural Center The traveling exhibition Nkame: A Retrospective of the Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón (1967-1999) will be inaugurated on February 29, 2020, at its sixth venue, the Chicago Cultural Center. READ MORE IV National Collography Contest Belkis Ayón Announcement for the IV national Collography Contest Belkis Ayón. April 9-12, 2020. Cienfuegos ​ IV Edition postponed due to the epidemiological situation with the Covid-19 READ MORE Behind the veil of a myth. New book about Belkis Ayón's artwork Behind the veil of a myth, with texts by the curator Cristina Vives, was produced by the Station Museum of Contemporary Art and the Belkis Ayón Estate. READ MORE Nkame arrives at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston, Texas After the successful presentations in different cities of the United States while traveling through this country, the exhibition Nkame. A Retrospective of the Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón (1967-1999), arrives at the Station Museum in Houston, Texas. READ MORE Nkame: A Retrospective of the Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, selected among the best of the art of 2017 worldwide by ARTnews magazine ... among other very important contemporary art exhibitions of the year, Nkame ... was selected in position number 4, among the best exhibitions in the world of the year 2017 ... READ MORE Nkame: A Retrospective of the Cuban Printamker Belkis Ayón, selected among the best of art of 2017 by the New York Times Nkame featured this summer at Museo del Barrio, NY (June 13 - November 5) was selected among the best of the art of 2017 by the New York Times ... READ MORE Nkame: A Retrospective of the Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón (1967-1999) at the Museo del Barrio, New York. The exhibition Nkame: A Retrospective of the Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón will be inaugurated at the Museo del Barrio in New York on June 13. This will be the second venue to host the artist's first personal exhibition at an institution in the United States ... READ MORE Nkame: A Retrospective of the Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayon (1967-1999) at the Fowler Museum at UCLA This will be the artist's first personal exhibition at an institution in the United States. The exhibition brings together 43 works and a documentary by the American filmmaker Sun Meidia ... READ MORE Memories Belkis Ayón's work will be part of the exhibition "Memories" that will open next Thursday, April 14 at 6:00 pm in the Gallery Orígenes of the Gran Teatro de La Habana «Alicia Alonso». READ MORE The 2015 Palma Digital Prize is awarded to the website of the artist Belkis Ayón READ MORE An interdisciplinary course in order to improve English language skills The mysterious character in the image is a student who selected the piece by Belkis Ayón and covered his face alluding to the work it represented ... READ MORE Callaloo Art & Culture in the African Diaspora Magazine illustrated its cover with the piece La Cena, 1988 by Belkis Ayón Issue 4 of the Callaloo Art & Culture in the African Diaspora Magazine illustrated its cover with the piece La Cena de 1988 by Belkis Ayón, of which we can find a dossier with more of her works and specific aspects of her artistic life. READ MORE Agglutinated between the esoteric and the Manic Art Under the title of Witches, but also Warlocks, the Aglutinador space and the Maniac Art Museum these days exhibit a sui generis sample that blends art with rites and religious beliefs from different parts of the planet. READ MORE The book Nkame wins Second Prize for the best books published in Spain in 2010 The Ministry of Culture of Spain has awarded the Awards for the Best Edited Books in 2010. These awards do not have an economic endowment but are highly valued by publishers for what they mean of recognition and prestige to their editorial work, as well as for the dissemination that it entails, being included in the book promotion actions and exhibited at the main national and international fairs. READ MORE Curatorship Award 2009 The National Council of Plastic Arts presents the CURATORSHIP AWARD to Cristina Vives for NKAME. BELKIS AYÓN (1967-1999). ANTHOLOGICAL EXHIBITION. READ MORE Book NKAME. Belkis Ayón The National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Council of Plastic Arts, José A. Figueroa, and the Belkis Ayón Estate presented at the MNBA Theater. ARTE CUBANO Building, the books: NKAME, Belkis Ayón and José A. Figueroa. A Cuban Self-Portrait. READ MORE

  • The Artist | Belkis Ayón

    Sikán’s image is paramount in all these works because like myself, she led and leads –through me- , a disquieting life, looking insistently for a way out ​ Belkis Ayón, January, 1998 Belkis Ayón Manso (1967-1999) Printmaker, drawer , curator, teacher The Artist Havana, January 23, 1967 - September 11, 1999 ​ ​ STUDIES ​ • 1979-1982 Elementary School of Plastic Arts "20 de Octubre", Havana. • 1982-1986 San Alejandro Academy, Havana. Printmaking teachers: Pablo Borges, Carlos A. García and Ángel Ramírez. • 1986-1991 Bachelor of Art in Printmaking, Art Superior Institute (ISA), Havana. Printmaking teachers: Luis Cabrera, Luis Lara, Rolando Rojas and Pablo Borges. ​ ​ ARTIST'S RESIDENCES ​ • 1999 Brandywine Workshop, Center for the Visual Arts Cuba Project, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. • 1999 The Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. • 1999 Bronski Center, Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. • 1999 Bensen Hall Gallery, Rhode Island School of Design, Rhode Island, United States. MAIN COLLECTIONS pe rsonal exhibitions collective exhibitions

  • Colectivas1 | Belkis Ayón

    COLLECTIVE EXHIBITIONS Renderings. New Narratives and Reinterpretations Mechanical Hall at Delaware University, Philadelphia, United States September 3 - 30, 2014 Read more Havana Factory, Old Havana, Havana, Cuba. ​ May 23 - August 23, 2014 ​ ​ Glances Read more Without Masks. Contemporary Afro-Cuban Art. Museum of Anthropology (MOA), University of British Columbia, Johannesburg Gallery of Art, Vancouver, Canada, Johannesburg, South Africa ​ May 2 - November 2, 2014 Read more Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center (SUPEC), Shanghai, China ​ March 3 - April 8, 2014 Rolling they meet. The Art Collection from the National Council of Plastic Arts Read more In the heat of the thought. Works from the Daros Latinoamérica Collection Santander Group City Art Room, Madrid, Spain February 3 - April 30, 2010 Read more previous Next

  • news Artnews 2017 | Belkis Ayón

    NKAME: A RETROSPECTIVE OF THE CUBAN PRINTMAKER BELKIS AYÓN SELECTED AMONG THE BEST OF THE ART OF 2017 WORLDWIDE BY ARTnews MAGAZINE Jan 4, 2018 Yadira Leyva Ayón © www.artnews.com On December 27, 2017, the article by Andrew Russeth, «2017: THE YEAR IN REVIEW, was published on the ARTnews website. The Year in, and Beyond, New York Galleries — Plus a Top 10 from Around the World. In the article, among other very important contemporary art exhibitions of the year, Nkame… was selected in the number 4 position among the best exhibitions in the world of the year 2017. Andrew Russeth refers: “Once you take a look at the large-scale pieces that Belkis Ayón made by assembling printed panels, you never forget. They are typically black, white, and every shade of gray (though she briefly and incredibly dipped into the color), and they feature, with supernaturally sinuous confident lines, figures with faces that only have piercing eyes, piercing eyes, performing non-ritualistic rituals. identifiable, hugging each other, and, yes, looking at us, inspired by the male and Afro-Cuban secret society known as Abakuá. The world lost the Cuban artist in 1999, at the age of 32, and this retrospective made it clear that if she were still alive, she would be one of the main figures operating today. " Nkame: A Retrospective of the Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, previously exhibited at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, and then at the Museo del Barrio in New York, has been selected as the best of art for two years, as it was also chosen as the best of art in Los Angeles in 2016. ​ Link to the article HERE PREVIOUS NEWS NEXT NEWS

  • Collography contest | Belkis Ayón

    January 2, 2020 Yadira Leyva Ayón © Belkis Ayón Estate ​ Announcement for the IV Collography Contest Belkis Ayón. April 9-12, 2020. Cienfuegos ​ ANNOUNCEMENT ​ The National Council of Plastic Arts, the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), and the Graphic Society of Cienfuegos, in coordination with Espacio Ayón, the Belkis Ayón Estate, the Provincial Council of Plastic Arts, the Provincial Committee of the UNEAC and the Cuban Fund of Cultural Assets of the province of Cienfuegos, summon all interested artists and students to participate in the IV National Contest of Colography Belkis Ayón in tribute to one of the Cuban artists who marked, with her graphic and pedagogical work, a milestone in the history of Engraving in Cuba. ​ Basis of Participation All Cuban students and artists with engravings made in the COLLOGRAPHY technique, printed between 2019 and 2020, who have not participated in a previous exhibition, event, or contest, may participate. Inscription The works must be sent unframed, through certified mail or in person, until March 18, 2020: To the Association of Plastic Artists of the UNEAC of Havana, appointment at 17 and H, Vedado. Tel. 78325781, in the case of artists and students residing in the western provinces (Pinar del Río, Havana, Artemisa, Mayabeque, Matanzas and Isla de la Juventud) To the Graphic Society of Cienfuegos, appointment at Ave. 50, # 2326, between Calle 23 and Calle 25, Cienfuegos 1, Cienfuegos. Tel. 43 517979, in the case of artists and students residing in the central provinces (Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus and Ciego de Ávila) To the Caguayo Foundation, appointment at Calle 4 No. 403 between 15 and 17, Rpto Vista Alegre, Santiago de Cuba, CP 90400, Tel. 22 643492, in the case of artists and students residing in the eastern provinces (Camagüey, Las Tunas, Holguín, Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo). Each artist will have the right to present three works (independent or triptych) duly signed and numbered in pencil, which cannot exceed 60 x 80 cm (paper measurements). Workshop or artist tests are not accepted. Selection A Jury will be appointed to select and award the works received. The selected and awarded works will be exhibited at the Cienfuegos Art Gallery, within the program of the 14th Feria de La Estampa, an event that will be officially inaugurated on April 9 and until April 12, 2020, making the final decision of the jury public. on April 9, at 9 pm, the opening day of the competitive exhibition. The exhibition will remain open to the public for 30 days. It will also be presented at the Casa del Benemérito de las Américas Benito Juárez of the City Historian Office, Havana, in 2020. The organizers of the contest are responsible for the care of the works sent, running with all the expenses generated by the return of the same to their authors. Prize A single and indivisible Grand Prize will be awarded consisting of 5 000.00 MN (donation from the printmaking workshop artists and the Belkis Ayón and Estate), a diploma, and a reproduction of a work by the artist to whom the contest is dedicated. The Jury will award mentions at its discretion, without a financial award. The awarded artist will be invited to the Printmaking Workshop "Magenta Rhinoceros" in the city of Toluca, Mexico, for a 10-day artistic residency. The winning works will become part of the Cienfuegos Stamp Cabinet. The awarded artist will be invited to carry out a personal exhibition at the Cienfuegos Art Center in 2022, within the official program of the V National Contest of Collography. The not-selected works must contact the Organizing Committee for their return. Participating in the National Collography Contest Belkis Ayón implies acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. The Jury's decision will be final. More information Organizing Committee of the National Collography Contest Belkis Ayón ESTATE OF BELKIS AYÓN, HAVANA belkat@cubarte.cult.cu | 7 642 3083 GRAPHIC SOCIETY OF CIENFUEGOS caceres69@azurina.cult.cu | 43 517979 www.ayonbelkis.cult.cu PREVIOUS NEWS NEXT NEWS

  • Norberto Marrero | Belkis Ayón

    Belkis Ayón. The preamble to an infinite journey to earth. ​ ​ Norberto Marrero December 1, 1999 © Extramuros, 1, December 1999, pp. 25-26 ​ ​ For us, weary of the tumult and bad nights, reaching Alamar (land of promise) meant, among other things, being able to verify that there was still a full place, devoid of hatred and betrayal; a castle where we could exercise ourselves in the greatest and clearest spiritual tranquility. Then Belkis would appear with her enormous eyes of an Egyptian goddess, she ushered us in, and no one dared to let go of her spirit anymore, and we would be left hanging comfortably by her smile, her contagious optimism. I see Belkis as that mysteriously invulnerable woman, ready to offer us the best spaghetti in Havana and the clearest beer, capable of satiating the appetite, thirst and fatigue of the most demanding traveler; I see her there with her kind and enthusiastic face, giving each of us a torrent of affection and vitality. When I met her in San Alejandro, I was just another student in the evening course with an avid interest in printmaking. She was already the artist that everyone admired, a teacher of two groups of students in the day course, quite numerous. With somewhat excessive persistence, in which I silently slipped away among her disciples and patiently waited for each moment of respite to ask her any technical or conceptual concerns, to which she responded without the slightest qualm, without the slightest suspicion. At the end of my four years of studies we had become very good friends, and by chance, almost always unpredictable, she ended up being the opponent of my thesis. I remember her as one of those essential teachers, very concerned for her students from San Alejandro, to whom she gave all her knowledge about engraving, including very expensive materials that she managed to buy on her travels, or others that were donated to her by foreign friends; catalogs and all kinds of information that he managed to collect. For a long time the Chair of Engraving of Saint Alexander survived thanks to his unrelenting interest. She was the irreplaceable friend, and I can't stop thinking about her eyes, with her always encouraging words. For Cuban culture, an impeccable work will remain, overflowing with perfection and constancy, of exquisite elegance. A path opened by someone who dedicated a large part of his days to promoting Cuban engraving in a special way, with unquestionable seriousness and professionalism. For Cuban culture, it is the gross and useless loss of an artist who with her scarce thirty-two years managed to climb the highest levels of national and international culture in the plastic arts, with an astonishingly mature work, of great originality and spiritual depth. . For those of us who loved her, for those of us who were by her side, something more intimate, more imperishable, will remain. We will be left with his goodness, his disinterested way of giving himself, his concern for everything that meant the well-being of his family and his friends, which was the same; his desire to always achieve a fair and happy future for artists and friends. I remember now when he received one of the prizes from the Puerto Rico Engraving Biennial, one of the most important graphic arts events on the continent. It was a moderately happy surprise for her; I could assure you that he received it with a certain amount of modesty. However, I very well remember her inordinate joy and pride when Abel (1) visited La Huella Múltiple, and with her he toured each of the exhibition halls, which he had appreciated in their exceptional quality. I looked at his eyes and could perceive endless wonderful thoughts, plans for engraving, opportunities never latent before as up to that moment, and then we remembered all the difficulties to carry out the event, the early mornings of work at the UNEAC putting together the catalogs, the money that was not enough and that much of it came from his pocket; the difficulty of assembling many of the pieces, the fatigue, the sleep, and although we always had the conviction that La Huella ... would cost us a lot, now, while we talked about Abel and all that, we knew deep inside that the effort would not it had been in vain. Her work as Vice President of Plastic Arts at UNEAC, for many of the engraving artists who knew her, was a saving dream; there was someone who gave engraving its true importance, such a laborious technique and so much tradition in Cuban culture. Belkis was not only a very responsible artist, but also was absolutely affordable for any artist, not only for the most important, but also, since they paid special attention, to those less known, less "privileged". He had a special agglutinating capacity, thanks to which he carried out any event, counting not only on the engravers, but also on the sculptors, the photographers ... To all this he gave himself with absolute devotion, leaving aside, even, his own work of creation. Today, while making the same trip that I did so many times, I think about the time that Eliseo left us (2), and I cannot conceive of including Belkis in that immaterial, insubstantial time; I try to understand their essences, their latitudes, and I cannot manage their body and spirit through those labyrinths. For some it is the unspoken and irreversible end. For others it is one of her many trips, one of which inexplicably sometimes she returned very depressed, even having done very well professionally. For me it is neither one nor the other. I still know that he will be there, in his castle (and ours), waiting for the first traveler, thirsty, spreading his arms. I know this is absolutely true and I don't want to be fooled. We share too many joys, too many sorrows, too many truths, and although for all this means a selfish and terribly devastating loss, we will try to be calm. I wonder about the things that we did not say to each other, because of how dark no one perceived, about the things that we did not understand, and then I think: ​ How else would I see suicide, if not as a prelude of a fervent banquet, and tell each other why it would be worth very little to strip ourselves of our sardonic sorcery as if all our anguish ended there, where the water runs transparent and the salt shines like gold vomited by a goat. How else would we see emptiness. One and the other are voracious objects that our exhausted youth possesses, relic of a knowledge that is spent so inevitably like our children. Love accompanies bodies when they die. A fine line divides the stones and desire. Patience. Before the yew tree, patience. After the desserts, a slow and infinite patience. Then I arrive at the door of that wonderful castle. When it opens the door she appears, says "hello", and her huge eyes pull me, Apprehending me for all eternity ​ (1) - Abel Prieto, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Cuba. (N. of the publisher) (2) - It refers to the Cuban poet Eliseo Diego and his poem "Testament", where he bequeaths to future generations "the time, all the time." (N. of the publisher) ​ PREVIOUS article next article

  • Confesiones | Belkis Ayón

    Confessions ​ Belkis Ayon February 11, 1991 ​ Some time ago I studied some of the components of our culture, on the African side, the carabalíes and of them the Abakuá Secret Society, made up only of men, a mutual aid and relief society, self-financed by its members. It resurfaces in the 30s of the 19th century in Cuba under other conditions and objectives very different from those of its African ancestors. There are people who feel and have the need to believe in something, which is inherent to human existence and one of those many examples is the following ... that even after so many years initiation ceremonies are held, promotion of obones or creation of new powers; crying or nlloro (funeral ceremony for the death of a member of society); that of refreshing the sacred pieces of the liturgy; as well as the assemblies of squares or the general assemblies; that are still carried out mainly in Havana and Matanzas, exclusively in Cuba. "To be a man you do not have to be an Abakuá but, to be an Abakuá you have to be a man", society does not come to seek prestige but to give it prestige, the best of itself. "There were women in Calabar who played like men in their power (...) and when the ceremonies began, in the mountains, in a cave on the banks of a lagoon, the men stole their secret ..." "Ekue hates women females. The secret is absolutely for MEN ... "(1) By addressing this unknown and hermetic theme for many, not being popular as another component of the Cuban cultural heritage for dealing with certain aspects that have not yet been clarified, I intend above all to make my vision known from its interwoven overflowing sacred memories religious imagination, presenting them in a synthetic way the aesthetic, plastic and poetic aspect that I have discovered in Abakuá (...) "transferring a complex message that despite its conceptual dimension is never direct but allusive ..." (2), going back many times to its origins in Africa. The antecedents of this secret society must be looked for well past in time because they arose in very primitive economic-social formations where man faced the unknown countless times, always seeking a satisfactory answer to the natural and social phenomena that surrounded him. that in my engravings you will be able to observe an infinity of points that coincide with the cultural fact itself, verifiable both in the field of ideas and in visual references. The antecedents of the ñañigos were back in Africa the Secret Societies Ngbe and Ekpe whose names in ekoi and efik respectively mean leopard man. These associations, due to their cults and their great economic and ideological power, were spreading the leopard as a totemic animal whose ... "fraternity is established on a foot of perfect equality between a human group on one side and a group of things, generally animals and plants ..." from the other, as Frazer would deduce in Man, God, and Immortality, totemism, together with the other primitive religious forms (magic, fetishism, and animism) generally achieve sympathetic magic by law of similarity as a result, which they will permeate the life of primitive man, his thoughts and actions. These societies can be found in the area that was included in the so-called Oil Rivers, from the piers of the vast Niger Delta and the Cross River in present-day South Nigeria and part of Cameroon, in front of the Biafra Bay. When I begin to investigate this interesting and mysterious brotherhood, unique in Cuba in its sacred memories -by the way very tangled-I can select characters that in my view are the most important to convey what I want and will be presented in all my works as : the leopard man, designated and identified with him by the different positions and hierarchies of society, to Sikán, a woman who discovers the secret and is sacrificed so that it passes to men and does not disappear. Sikán dies in vain, the secret fades more and more; This consisted of a voice, UYO UYO ANFONO sacred voice produced by a fish discovered by her when she returned from the river, the fish was the reincarnation of the old king called Obón Tanzé, King of Efigueremo who at the same moment was the reincarnation of Abasí, GOD SUPREME. Many were the efforts and attempts, for the transmission of the sacred voice because each time it faded more. The last transmission was on the hide of a goat; There yes! There yes! There was ... "that peculiar, frighteningly adorable sound ..." (3), the voice that vibrates on the sacred EKUE drum. There are innumerable variations of popular imagery when recounting how the events that gave rise to this type of secret society happened and from them I show you my variations intertwining their signs with mine; I use colography turned into a medium with which I feel very identified since it adjusts to my way of doing and that for some years I have been working, offering very peculiar visual information with effects and results that in a certain way harmonize with the subject. In addition to the possibilities that it presents in its multiple nature, which as it is generally defined, is the printing of a collage with a wide variety of materials which are glued on a cardboard support. Referring to the use of color there was a stage that I worked with a great variety of them and at that moment I was very satisfied, but over time I began to feel a certain nostalgia for black, I recognized that I was strongly united making me return to it. According to the materials that I use, he gives me a whole range of whites, grays and blacks, conceiving him as a great ally of the type of figuration I work with, with his composition ... all so hermetic, secret and mysterious in addition to the strength that he transmits to us. I think that these engravings could be a spiritual testimony if you will, not lived in my own flesh, but imagined, where I placed in the foreground an equivalent of the human figure, on which my ideas ultimately and consequently turn, which are memories of the memory materialized as a kind of crush that when the light is turned off and on, new memories appear accompanied by a successful classmate, intuition. I consider that there is a very close relationship between the vision that I offer you and that of the Abakuá Secret Society clearly transmitted in the work of Lydia Cabrera: … "By the knowledge and power of the signs, it makes the past present, recreates the hill, the river, the palm tree, in the sacred places of Awána Bekúra Mendó." Belkis Ayon / 91 ​ NOTES: (1) CABRERA, Lidia. The Abakuá Secret Society narrated by old followers. Havana, Editions CR, 1958 (2) MOSQUERA, Gerardo. Essay on America. Juan Francisco Elso. March 1986 (3) CABRERA, Lidia. The Abakuá Secret Society narrated by old followers. Havana, Editions CR, 1958 PREVIOUS ARTICLE BACK TO TEXTS