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Sandra Ramos

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Sandra Ramos belongs to a group of artists trained in graphics who, without breaking completely from the work of their predecessors, have tried to find new directions for certain graphic techniques, and to explore, in particular, their conceptual potential.

She use colour freely, in ways more usually associated, in Cuba at least, with painting- though the brilliant colours and contrasts are also reminiscent of the distant mythology of Cuban prints of the sixties. Her fluency with line quotation and cliché is perfectly adapted to the ideas she explore- without inhibition, but with a hint of satire and bitterness- neatly encapsulating the complexities of the individual's position in present- day Cuba.

Sandra might have made these prints as a series of illustrations for an intimate autobiography- such are their touches of melodrama, acquiescence, ( justifiable ) self- centeredness, and sincerity. If there is a submissive quality to them, it is due to the powerful presence of historical memory in her work, and the search for a dialogue with some of the characters who for and integral part of Cuban national consciousness ( for instance, the painter and caricaturist Eduardo Abela's creation, "El Bobo", who appeared in Cuban newspaper in the critical decades of the twenties and thirties ): a dialogue which addresses eternal questions raised by each succeeding generation of Cubans. It is here amongst the intriguing questions about social development, migratory conflict and changes in ethics, economics and ideology that autobiography reveals itself.

These ideas, and the individual stories on which they hang, are brought together in Sandra's work in the form of the suitcases in Migraciones II, in which the three- dimensional and the pictorial are balanced. The naïve spirit of this works- some of the images could be taken to be the votive offerings of emigrants- provides us with an honest and fearful collection of islander's anecdotes about emigration.

From the tragedy of the boat- people and the incurable emptiness of those who believed that every airline would lead to paradise, to the evident failure of the island of Cuba as a "paradise" - these works summarize, with the attention to detail of a popular morality tale, a key area of collective consciousness.

Sandra uses the object most commonly associated with travel precisely and effectively- but these suitcases appear as ironic proof of the frustrations of not travelling. With their insides transformed into crudely decorative illusionist mirrors, the cases appear to carry a spiritual dead- weight, as if they have absorbed and entire luggage- load of dreams, nightmares or- at best- dazzled naivety.