Narrated by Joy Vandevort-Cobb, this video delves into artist Roberto Diago’s origins in Cuba and how the country’s racial history shapes his art. His work explores the intertwined gains and losses of Cuba’s black community. Media becomes analogous to human bodies and skin in order to convey the physical and emotional traumas of black people in Cuba. Cloth and ropes mimic scars, stitches, burns, and lashes from whipping. His metal works are huge colorful sheets which upon closer inspection appear painfully welded together. By burning, stitching, tearing, and exploiting all the physical possibilities afforded by his various media, Diago tells a painful story that reaches from the first slaves forced on to Cuban land to the lives of black Cubans today.
This post is in conjunction with our virtual project 10/10: Reflections on a Decade of Exhibitions.
-by Madeleine Mitchell, Halsey Institute intern