Couturier Gallery, Los Angeles, California, United States.
Belkis Ayón. Desasosiego/ Restlessness.
When Darrel Couturier sent the request by fax for the title for this exhibition I still did not have it, I had not even thought about it, to be honest. That day I had a great commitment to attend the opening of the first personal exhibition of two of my students.
After finishing my work as a spectator and as a guardian angel (teacher), I went to my friend Cristina's house where I would meet Rafa who would bring the letter to Darrel with the title of the exhibition. When I left, still nothing occurred to me - I entered a state of desperation imperceptible to the eye - again showing my moderate personality, except to laugh and do large collographies. I thought about the works that I had already finished and I asked myself what feelings they have in common since I have been working on the subject for years in general - and I associate it a little with what I have been feeling in recent months, a great RESTLESSNESS, something that almost unconsciously began to appear in my work.
As I mentioned earlier, the subject that I have been working on for years since I began to study in the third year of San Alejandro Academy, it's one of the components of the Cuban culture on the African side, the carabalíes and from them, the Abakuá Secret Society composed only by men, which emerged in the 1830s in the 19th century in Cuba. Above all, I intend to give my vision, my point of view as an observer, presenting in a synthetic way the aesthetic, plastic, and poetic aspect that I have discovered in Abakuá, relating it to the questioning of the nature of man, with personal experiences, that feeling that sometimes captures us and we do not know how to define them, with those fleeting emotions, with the spiritual incorporating symbols from other cultures that I use to express my ideas with greater richness and quality. I work with characters such as the leopard man, identifying with him the power, the composition, the aggression of society, a male who sacrifices Sikán, a woman who discovers the secret and dies for the sake of passing it to men, and not disappearing. The secret consisted of a voice, a SACRED VOICE, produced by a FISH discovered by her when she returned from the river, the fish was the reincarnation of Old Obón, Tanzé, of Abasí, the Supreme God. The transmission of the sacred voice was finally settled on the hide of a goat vibrating on the sacred drum of EKUE.
My images come to them through the engraving technique of collography, which consists of a kind of collage printed with a wide variety of materials placed and glued on a cardboard support.
Sikán, a woman who prevails in the works presented, because she, like me, lived and lives through me in restlessness, insistently looking for a way out.
Havana, Cuba, January 1998.