Belkis Ayón in Martinique, 1994. Courtesy Belkis Ayón Estate.

Belkis Ayón. Matinée with Lectures by Cristina Vives and Yolanda Wood

On the occasion of the exhibition we cordially invite you to a matinée with two lectures: Cristina Vives (art historian and curator, Havana) will speak about important moments in the artist’s life, and Yolanda Wood (Professor for Art History, University of Havana) will explore the artist’s broader context of production just before the turn of the millennium.

Cristina Vives
Belkis Ayón in 5 Moments
12 – 1.30 pm

The lecture analyses five significant moments in the creative process of the Cuban printmaker Belkis Ayón, following a chronological order from 1988—the year of her first solo exhibition—to her death in 1999. These moments are used to trace the creative, socio-cultural, and ideological factors that led the artist to become intensively involved with the Abakuá Secret Society as both myth and fraternal community. Vives’ research on the work of Ayón began during her longtime friendship and collaboration with the artist and continued as part of the travelling exhibition Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, which was on view at seven museums in the United States between 2016 and 2021, and most recently at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.

Cristina Vives is a curator and art critic based in Havana, Cuba. She graduated from the University of Havana with a degree in Art History. She is the founder of Estudio Figueroa-Vives (since 1994), a pioneering space in Cuba for independent contemporary art. In 1994 and 1995 she received a J. Paul Getty Center grant and won the Premio Nacional de Curaduría in 2007, 2009 and 2010. She has curated exhibitions in Cuba, the United States, and Europe since 1986, including the recently touring retrospective of Belkis Ayón. Recent publications include Cultura y contracultura en la fotografía de la revolución cubana (Fundación Mapfre, Barcelona, 2022); Belkis Ayón. Colografías(Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2021); Behind the Veil of a Myth. Belkis Ayón (Houston, 2018); The Inevitable Space. Alexandre Arrechea(2014); Nkame. Belkis Ayón (2010); I Insulted Flavio Garciandía in Havana(2009); and José A. Figueroa. A Cuban Self-Portrait (2010).


Yolanda Wood
Belkis Ayón on the threshold of this new millennium
2-3.30 pm

Yolanda Wood will examine key aspects of the year 1999, when Belkis Ayón decided to end her life at the age of 32, on the threshold of this new century. She highlights the artist’s broader context of production during an intense creative process in the last months of her life, encompassing multiple fields of her artistic practice: international commitments, her curatorial work and general promotion of engraving, her teaching work, public and participatory projects, as well as the establishing of relationships between her work and that of other female, Cuban, contemporary artists. Wood’s deep connection to the work of Ayón becomes evident, as well as the ways in which Ayón’s life and work not only managed to transcend the threshold of the millennium, but became unforgettable for the artist’s contemporaries and generations to follow.

Yolanda Wood Pujols (1950, Cuba) is Professor of Art History, University of Havana, researcher, art critic, and Invited Professor at the Ibero-American University, Mexico City. She holds a PhD in Art History (1993), and was Postdoc Fellow at UNAM (2017-18). She founded the Chair of Caribbean Art at the University of Havana in 1985. Wood has given lectures and courses of Cuban and Caribbean Art at the Institute of Aesthetic Investigations (Mexico), Polytechnic University (Valencia), and Quisqueya University (Haiti), among others. Wood is a member of the Visual Art Association (UNEAC) and the AICA International. She was Dean, Faculty of Arts and Letters, University of Havana (1994-2000); Vice-chancellor, Instituto Superior de Arte, Cuba (1985-91); Cuban Cultural Advisor in France (2000-05); Director, Caribbean Studies Centre, Casa de las Américas (La Habana) and Anales del Caribe (2006-16); and CSA President (2017-18). In 2918 she received the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres Medal of the French Republic.

Both lectures are in Spanish. Simultaneous translation into German is provided.

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