Moroccan museum hosts one of Africa’s first exhibitions of Cuban art

  • An exhibition at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Morocco showcases Cuban art.
  • It is one of the first pieces of Cuban art to be displayed in an African museum.
  • The exhibition explores themes ranging from isolation and economic embargo to heritage and identity.

When Morocco’s King Mohammed VI visited Havana in 2017, Cuban-American gallery owner Alberto Magnan impressed him with being “completely immersed” in Havana. caribbean island Art and Culture, drawing a line between the cultural and historical themes addressed by Cuban artists and those from across Africa.

Seven years after that encounter, one of the African Museum’s first exhibitions of Cuban art is on display at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Morocco.

This is part of an effort to provide visitors with a view beyond reality european artist Abdelaziz El Idrissi, the museum’s director, said they often form part of school curricula in the North African country and other former French colonies.

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“The Moroccan public might know Giacometti, Picasso or the Impressionists,” Idrisi said. The museum has them all on display. “We’ve seen them and are looking for others.”

On April 1, 2024, the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat is hosting a Cuban art exhibition. (AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy)

The Cuban exhibition includes 44 works by Wifredo Lam, an important showcase of the Afro-Cuban painter’s work, just over a year before the Museum of Modern Art in New York City will host a career retrospective of his work in 2025.

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“We kind of beat MoMA,” Magnan said.

The exhibition in Morocco also marks the first time that the work of another luminary, José Ángel Toillac, has been shown outside Cuba. Previously, his paintings depicting the country’s late anti-capitalist president Fidel Castro in American advertising and consumer culture imagery were not allowed to leave the island.

Other works in “Cuban Art: On the Other Side of the Atlantic” (open until June 16) illustrate universal themes in Cuban art, from isolation and economic embargo to heritage and identity.

In Cuba, nearly half the population is mestizo and more than 1 million people are Afro-Cuban. The island’s diversity is a recurring theme for painters and artists, including Lin. Magnum says that’s why it’s important to show his work – which includes African-style mask paintings and use of bright colors – in Africa.

Morocco is one of the countries that has shown new interest in Cuban art since the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in 2014 and Castro’s death in 2016. American art dealers and major museums are flocking to the previously difficult-to-visit island.

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But Magnum said the plot was curbed by the COVID-19 pandemic and former President Donald Trump’s decision to redesignate the United States as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

At the same time, Morocco has increased its arts and culture Efforts to enhance its “geopolitical soft power” in North Africa and beyond.

In Morocco and Cuba, 20th-century artists responded to political transformations—decolonization in Morocco, revolution in Cuba—by drawing on history and participating in trends that shaped global contemporary art.

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But the current program does not touch on Morocco’s diplomatic relations with Cuba, which were restored after King Mohammed VI visited the country in 2017.

The two countries severed ties decades ago over Cuba’s stance on disputed Western Sahara, which Morocco claims. Cuba has a history of training Sahrawi soldiers and doctors and supporting the Polisario Front’s agenda at the United Nations.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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