The Kennesaw State Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books in collaboration with the School of Art and Design and the Division of Global Affairs hosted an exhibit of Cuban art and culture in the Sturgis Library on Thursday, Sept. 19.
The showing — titled “The Island of my Love” or “Cuba Amor” — was part of the Year of Cuba festivities at KSU.
Works of art and photography from those currently residing on the island were featured, with artists such as co-curator Jesús Molina and Juliette Cruz on display.
KSU art major Rin Fedak was a captivated visitor, mentioning that her favorites were a series of paintings by artist Ana Lucia Vasquez. These were titled, “Submerged,” “Floater” and “Rising Person.”
“It is really gorgeous to see the contrast of emotions between the different pieces,” Fedak said. “Some of them feel as if they are trying to speak.”
A variety of artistic tools were utilized in the exhibit, including oil on canvas, magazine collage, acrylic on paper, ink pen and crayon.
Pieces from aspiring Cuban artists, art from children in Havana and Pinar del Rio, secondary students from the San Alejandro School of Fine Arts and adult learners from all over Havana lined the walls of this museum-like display.
Another prominently featured section held photographs from “The String Project,” that recently toured Cuba. This project was created by photographers Chelsea Nix and Mariano Cortez.
The goal of Nix and Cortez was to create a visual representation of an invisible connection between people from all walks of life. To accomplish this, they toured worldwide, photographing a variety of individuals from differing geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds holding a piece of string.
When placed side by side, the individuals appear close together physically and mentally. This project was voted “Best of Show” at a respected art competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Cuban participants were shown in the exhibit.
The breadth of content was the result of partnerships between the KSU’s School of Art and Design, the Division of Global Affairs and Western Kentucky University.
WKU faculty member Miwon Choe was the curator of the exhibit and responsible for the acquisition of much of the art. She said that the purpose of the presentation was for students, teachers and community members to get to know Cuba through the eyes of its artists.
Choe said that although the finished project of the exhibit was beautiful, there were some difficulties in bringing it to life.
“Spreading the word in order to acquire these pieces, gathering them and encouraging many artists to participate has been the biggest difficulty,” Choe said. “Making trips to Cuba with colleagues and students to pick the art up hasn’t been easy.”
Coupling the laborious task of traveling between Georgia and Cuba with dealing with a lack of materials available to Cuban artists demonstrates the dedication of the people involved in this project.
The excellent working relationship between the curator and the departments responsible for the exhibit are among the many reasons why this miniature museum made its home at KSU.
“KSU and the finished project are a dream come true,” Choe said. “Providing this platform for people to connect is a huge benefit.”
Her affinity for KSU comes from the many friendships and positive working relationships she has formed with the school’s associates. She also said that this exhibit was meant to be at KSU and she hopes for another collaborative project down the line.