Afro-Cuban artist Roberto Diago’s exhibit opens at the Halsey this month


Havana nights


Last summer, CofC’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art received a $15,000 NEA grant for its upcoming exhibit, La Historia Recordada, featuring the work of Afro-Cuban artist Roberto Diago. The exhibit is part of a campus-wide interdisciplinary project, Cuba en el Horizonte, which introduces the community to Cuban film, art, music, and more this spring. The Halsey unveils Diago’s exhibit on Fri. Jan. 19, with an opening reception from 6:30-8 p.m.

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Diago’s work is often a direct criticism of racism in Cuba, exploring the roots and role of slavery in Cuban history and culture. This summer Halsey director and chief curator Mark Sloan commented on Diago’s upcoming exhibit, “He is among the most prominent contemporary artists in Cuba, and an emerging voice on the global stage. We have a long history of introducing artists like this to the Charleston community.”

Diago uses found materials — wood, metal, textiles — from Havana neighborhoods near his home and studio. According to a press release, “Diago tracks a lineage of painterly abstraction and other forms in modern Cuban art, condensing them into a body of work that explores the vestiges of slavery and segregation in contemporary Cuban life.”

In addition to the exhibit, the Halsey will screen Juan Carlos Alom’s black and white short film, Habana Solo, in the microcinema. A “multi-sensory portrait” of Havana, Cuba, the film features improvised musical solos by Cuban musicians, paired with abstracted footage of the city landscape.

Learn more about the exhibit and corresponding events — from talks with faculty and students to a lecture on race and slavery — online at halsey.cofc.edu.

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