Ben Jones meets Cuba and not with the epidermal curiosity of a visitor’s pass. Rather, he has been a consistent scholar of the culture of the island and of the African diaspora which in the insular space assumes its own face. He has not stopped in the structures of colonial architecture, the grandiose epic or the landscapes of sun, exported to the world. For him, it leaves the unmistakable sound of the Yoruba ritual, the voices, the aesthetic plying the river of the Afro-Cuban. Somehow – he confesses – I feel part of this country and its energies, its culture and its history. More than 60 trips to Havana confirms it.
The syncretic tradition that breathes the streets makes it back in an effort to absorb every essence that can then transform into art. Thus arose the Changó Drawings (1994) series where questioning the codes from which black masculinity is defined.
“The link that the artists from both countries are establishing is very strong and I hope our work will help to bring our peoples together increasingly because we are not so different, especially in the recognition of that footprint of Africa that was planted in us. In the United States there are many conscious creators, like me, of the force that has the black culture on the island. That is why we come to drink from it, of its referents”, assures American painter, sculptor and the curator Ben Jones, a few days before the inauguration in Havana of “Abstraction and the African-American artists”, an exhibition that will be on display from August 1 in the building of Universal art, the National Museum of fine arts (MNBA).
Road map New York – Havana