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Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom

Jose Bedia

José Bedia, "Júbilo de Aponte," 2017, mixed media on mixed paper.

Visionary Aponte: Art & Black Freedom takes as its point of departure an extraordinary —and now lost—historical artifact: a “Book of Paintings” created by José Antonio Aponte.

Aponte was a free black carpenter, artist, and former soldier who was also the leader of an ambitious antislavery movement in Cuba during the Age of Revolution. During his trial, Aponte was forced to provide testimony describing each of the pictures in his book, which portrayed a wide array of subjects, from Biblical scenes to landscapes to episodes in the history of Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Using those descriptions, contemporary artists working in painting, drawing, sculpture, video, mixed media, and textile have reimagined Aponte’s book for our present and future.

This exhibition includes work by artists including Sanford Biggers, Magdalena Campos-Pons, Teresita Fernández and José Bedia. This exhibition was curated by Édouard Duval Carré and Ada Ferrer.