The work of 10 multigenerational Cuban artists will be featured in “A Misunderstanding”/“Un Malentendido,” an exhibition that will be on view June 27 to July 27, 2015, in the Santa Fe Gallery, room M-147 at the Northwest Campus of Santa Fe College, 3000 NW 83 Street, Gainesville. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.
“The title of the exhibition evolved from the title of Ibrahim Miranda’s dream piece, ‘Dumbo and His Candies, A Misunderstanding’ and out of a conversation I had with some artists in Havana,” explained Astrid Martinez-Jones of LatinArt Space, who is organizing “A Misunderstanding.” “All the artists live in Cuba except for Raul Villarreal, so I joked that his art was included because of a misunderstanding. Then we started talking about the nature of misunderstandings and wondering if the split between the USA and Cuba over 50 years ago was just a misunderstanding.”
Miranda’s “Dumbo” image shows an elephant with joyful eyes stretching his trunk over Florida toward red, white and blue candies on Cuba. According to LatinArt Space’s description, “The rough waves, the dark sea, and the roaring winds suggest that his infantile dream of savoring foreign sweets will not be realized this time…at least not for now.” But that dream could come true soon, since relations between the U.S. and Cuba have begun to thaw. “Rapprochement makes this idea much more current,” added Martinez-Jones.
Two of the pieces in the exhibition are by Villarreal, who recently led a Santa Fe College-sponsored cultural trip to Cuba with Martinez-Jones and is now teaching visual arts classes at SF. “The first piece is a large digital print of a tropical landscape in Cuba that depicts royal palm trees, the national tree of the island and a symbol of freedom,” he explained. “The second piece is a smaller oil painting on a panel that’s a pop art image of a famous Taino chieftain. I chose an image of the indigenous people of Cuba because the Taino are strongly connected to the palm trees; they used every part the palm for things like nets, fish hooks, furniture, dwellings and food.”
“Each of the artists has a distinct way of creating,” explained Martinez-Jones, “but what unites their work is the concept that we need to consider ideas we have previously excluded. ‘A Misunderstanding’ encourages us to break down mental walls that divide us, to accept guidelines that are foreign, and to remember that the ‘other’ is similar to us and, like us, suffers because of distance and separation. Each artist speaks in a personal language, touches upon idiosyncrasies and urges the viewer to explore personal assumptions and perceptions.”
“A Misunderstanding” is sponsored by the SF College Fine Arts Department; the SF College Foundation and Arts Patron program; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and Visit Gainesville.
For more information, call SF College Cultural Programs Coordinator Kathryn Lehman, 352-395-5355.