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Belkis Ayón Manso

When Darrel Couturier sent to request by fax the title for this exhibition he still did not have it, he 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 this other, nothing occurred to me - I entered a state of desperation imperceptible to the eye - again showing my moderate personality, less to laugh and do great colography. I thought about the works that I had already finished and I asked myself what feelings they have in common, since in general I have been working on the subject for years - and I associate it a little with what I have been feeling in recent months, a great UNREST, something that almost unconsciously my work began to appear.

As, I previously mentioned the subject that I have been working on for years, since I began to study in the 3 year of the San Alejandro Academy, it is one of the components of Cuban culture on the African side, the carabalíes and of them, the Secret Society Abakúa, made up only of men, which emerged in the 1930s 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 Abakúa relating it to the questioning of the nature of man, with personal experiences, that feeling that sometimes it captures 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 it passing to men and not disappearing. The secret consisted of a voice, 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 technical colography of engraving that 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 uneasiness, insistently looking for a way out.

Belkis Ayon

Havana, Cuba, January 1998

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