Rationale & Policy
This project involves the establishment of a website, administered through the State University at Buffalo and supported by the Samuel P. Capen Chair in Philosophy, about Cuban artists who work, or have worked for significant periods of time, outside of Cuba, and primarily on artists who were active at the time this project was initiated (2006). Its focus is on painting, although some drawing, sculpture and photography-based art will also be included. The aim of the project is to create a record of these artists, providing some biographical information, a brief interview, contact details, and a sample of the work (usually images of one or two significant and characteristic pieces). The project is also intended to illustrate how different artists have dealt with issues of immigration, diaspora, and memory in their art and lives, and to serve as the basis of a philosophical reflection on issues raised by how they have negotiated their identities as Cubans, Americans, and Cuban Americans.
Permission from collectors and the artists has been secured to display images of the works included and the texts of the interviews, but no use by anyone else is allowed without prior written permission. The project was initiated in conjunction with a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Seminar that took place at the University at Buffalo June 12-30, 2006, under the direction of Jorge J. E. Gracia, Lynette Bosch, and Isabel Alvarez Borland, on the topic of "Negotiating Identities in Art, Literature and Philosophy: Cuban Americans and American Culture." The Seminar included an art exhibition, "Layers: Collecting Cuban-American Art," directed by Gracia and coordinated by Lynette Bosch, at the UB Art Galleries, Center for the Arts.
This website is exclusively intended for scholarly purposes; it seeks to be a source of accurate information for anyone interested in the development of Cuban art. In addition to entries about artists, it contains or will contain some interviews with curators, private and institutional collectors, and gallery directors. The website refrains from making judgments of value as to the quality of the work or the stature of the artists included. An effort will be made to include artists from all over the word, and in particular artists who have been marginalized for one reason or another.
No political considerations have played, or will play, a role in this project. Artists who work exclusively in Cuba have been excluded because they draw considerable support from being in their original cultural and national context. Cuban artists working outside Cuba are on their own, and frequently work in contexts that are hostile or indifferent; they tend to be neglected and marginalized, a common fate to those who emigrate from their lands of origin.