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La anunciación (1993)

PLACE: Pan American Art Projects (PAAP) Little Haiti.

DATE: May 20th, 2017 2 p.m - 5 p.m.

Artists: Eduardo Abela, Sandra Ramos, José Toirac and Lázaro Saavedra


One of the most important exponents from the Republican period was, without a doubt, Eduardo Abela, who throughout his career was incredibly active in both his social and political life. He create the character "El Bobo" (the fool) at the peak of one of the most critical moments in the transformation of the Cuban nation - the second term of Gerardo Machado (1929 until the upturning of 1933) as a way to dedicate himself to the political battle. Thus, he is recognized as a prime example of the role which artists of that period conferred to art as a tool to stimulate social and political transformation.

It is exactly through the use of Abela’s character El Bobo (The Fool), that we pretend to call attention in this exhibit “Hacerse el Bobo” (Pretending to be a Fool) to the importance of art history for current creative processes, as well as to the influence that historical codices exert on contemporary art.

Specifically through their appropriation of Abela’s character, Cuban contemporary artists fill their work with meaning, and demonstrate that art is not just immune to the passage of time, but is also resistant to political changes: the use of appropriation in its current context, gives a new dimension to the original meaning. With “Hacerse el Bobo” (Pretending to be a Fool) not only we pay tribute to the Republic, but art itself is exalted through one of its most valuable weapons: that of accessing the past to reinterpret the present.


Blouin Art Info Reviews

‘The Republic through the Eyes of its Artists’ at PAAP

[...] Curated by Irina Leyva-Perez & Alejandro Machado, “La República vista por sus artistas”/“The Republic through the Eyes of its Artists” is a survey of Cuban art created on the island in the first half of the 20th century. The purpose of the show is to pay homage to the birth of the Cuban Republic, founded on May 20th, 1902, and ending in 1959 with the Cuban Revolution. Historical moments can always be understood through the art of their time, and Cuba is no exception.

The premise is to look at the Republic through the work of its artists who gave shape and color to their nation: they perpetuated in the memory of Cuban culture the complex thread which results in the birth of a new historical period. Once liberated from the Spanish crown, Cuba began to discover, for the first time, its own identity. The participating artists include Cundo Bermúdez, Fidelio Ponce, Amelia Peláez, Agustín Cárdenas, Roberto Diago Sr., Wifredo Lam, Mario Carreño, Carlos Enríquez, José Sicre, Víctor Manuel García, José Bencomo Mena, Leopoldo Romañach, Domingo Ramos, Hugo Consuegra, Guido Llinas, Raúl Martínez, Lolo Soldevilla, and Ángel Acosta León.

Cuban Art News Reviews:

Playing the Fool: On the Tradition of Comic Politics in Cuba

Connecting contemporary Cuban art and political satire of an earlier era.
By: Janet Batet
Published July 6, 2017
In Miami, the exhibition Hacerse el Bobo / Playing the Fool takes as its starting point the figure of El Bobo de Abela, the beloved creation of artist and caricaturist Eduardo Abela. Janet Batet takes a closer look at the Bobo and his satirical descendants in the work of 3 contemporary Cuban artists.

The character of El Bobo (The Fool), created by Cuban painter and caricaturist Eduardo Abela (1889–1965), first appeared in 1926 and made regular appearances in journals for the next decade. El Bobo has roots in earlier caricatures from Cuban colonial history, but Abela’s Bobo is inextricably linked to the Gerardo Machado dictatorship (1925–1933), a regime characterized by corruption, censorship, and bloody repression. El Bobo de Abela adopted various symbols (candle, trumpet, scarf, flag, and a three-piece wool suit printed with balls) and coded dialogue to elude the censorship of that era.

The exhibition Hacerse el Bobo / Playing the Fool opened in Miami’s Pan American Art Projects (PAAP) on May 20 (date of the proclamation of the Republic of Cuba), where it runs through July 15. Curated by Irina Leyva-Pérez and Alejandro Machado, it takes Abela´s popular character as its starting point, figuratively and literally. The show opens with two Abela works (an ink and a watercolor) as a prelude to work by three contemporary Cuban artists—Lázaro Saavedra, José Ángel Toirac, and Sandra Ramos—whose art has been nurtured and inspired by Abela’s satirical creation.


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