Memoria y Creencias Culturales / Memory and Cultural Beliefs
February 3, 2017 – March 23, 2017
José Bedia Memoria y Creencias Culturales / Memory and Cultural Beliefs explores Bedia’s concern for cultural preservation through the research and collection of indigenous and African art, and the adaptation of these forms in the visual language of his paintings and large-scale installations.
Bedia states, “This exhibition stems from my fieldwork in Africa, my personal relationship with African art, and also collaterally with some elements of the indigenous traditions of the Native Americans. These elements have always been rooted within my artistic trajectory.”
A contemporary Cuban painter best known for his distinctive style, Bedia’s work articulates the vibrant force of memory and cultural beliefs in art inspired by global and sacred
sources. His convictions are informed by his many spiritual initiations and symbolically reflected in the themes of his works through altars and shrines, natural and mythical elements, and proverbs and warfare — including a critique of colonial histories. Bedia’s experiences in the Angolan-Cuban War against Namibia and South Africa in the mid-1980s amplified a lifelong interest in the African roots of American culture. He has since investigated this cross-cultural connection in many locations across the world, including Peru, Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Zambia, Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania.
Born on January 13, 1959 in Havana, Cuba, José Bedia studied at the San Alejandro Art Academy before attending the Instituto Superior del Arte. He participated in the first Havana Biennial in 1984, and his work was first seen internationally in Paris at the 1989 exhibition, Magiciens de la Terre. Bedia represented Cuba at the 1990 Venice Biennale and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1992. The following year, after spending two years in Mexico, Bedia moved his family to his current home of Miami, Florida. His work has been shown in notable worldwide exhibitions including the La Habana, São Paulo, Venice and Beijing Biennales, where he received several awards. His art is featured in numerous important private and public collections, including the Museo Nacional Palacio de Bellas Artes (Havana); MoMA, Metropolitan Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim (New York); Tate Modern (London); Hirshhorn Museum/Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC); La Colección Daros (Zurich), MEIAC, DA2, IVAM, CAAM (España); and MOCA, MAM and Pérez Art Museum/PAMM (Miami).