Afro-Cuban Legacies: Visual Arts, Literature, Theatre, Music and Religion will be an international, interdisciplinary conference that examines Afro-Cuban expressive cultures since the 1960s.Register
Proposals can be in English or Spanish. They should include a title; an abstract of 250 words or less; and the name of the presenter(s), along with their affiliation and contact information. Each presentation will be limited to 20 minutes. Proposals will be peer-reviewed.
Potential topics may include (among others):
- The arts of the African Diaspora in Latin America, particularly Cuba
- The intersection of race and the expressive cultures of art, dance, film, literature, material culture, music, and theater
- Religion and the Arts
- Rituals, Performances, and Storytelling
- The dialogue between the arts and their social and political contexts
The deadline for submission is December 20, 2023. Anyone wishing to present a paper may submit a proposal via this form. Applicants will be notified by mid-January 2024. Approved presenters must confirm their attendance by registering for the conference no later than March 1st, 2024. The conference fee is $140 for faculty and $50 for students, which includes presentation of papers, admission to the exhibitions, and all conference activities, including performances, documentary screenings, and other events.
Ivor Miller is a Fellow at the Hutchins Center, at Harvard University, a Research Affiliate at the African Studies Center at Boston University, and Senior Lecturer at the Department of History at the University of Calabar, in Cross River State, Nigeria. His scholarship focuses on the cultural history of the Cross River region of Nigeria and Cameroon, and its impact in the Caribbean, mainly in Cuba through the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Elzbieta Sklodowska is the Randolph Family Professor of Spanish at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She has published widely on topics pertaining to the Caribbean, particularly Afro-Cuban literature. Her scholarship explores the ways literature, art, and film reflect upon the dramatic changes experienced in Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet system.
William Luis is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt of Spanish at Vanderbilt University and editor of Afro-Hispanic Review, the leading professional journal on Afro Latin American culture and arts. He has published thirteen books and more than one hundred scholarly articles and is widely regarded as a leading authority on Afro-Hispanic, Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino U.S. literatures.
Seven award-winning contemporary Cuban artists who address the intersections of Afro-Cuban arts, cultures, and religious traditions will attend, including:
- Juan Roberto Diago, multimedia artist
- Román Díaz, percussionist and composer
- Monse Duany, actress
- Nancy Morejón, poet laureate
- Arturo O'Farrill, jazz pianist
- Order tickets for Arturo O'Farrill Quintet's concert
Presented in partnership with We Always Swing Jazz Series
- Order tickets for Arturo O'Farrill Quintet's concert
- Fátima Patterson, actress, storyteller and director
- René Peña, photographer
In addition to keynote addresses, scholarly presentations, and artist roundtables, the conference will include visual arts exhibitions; poetry readings; music, storytelling, and theater performances; and screenings of documentary films directed by Juanamaria-Cordones Cook that feature the Afro-Cuban artists present at the conference.
The schedule shown below is tentative and will be updated as details are confirmed.
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
- 9:15-9:45 a.m. — Welcoming remarks
- 9:45-11 a.m. — Diago, a Maroon Artist / Artista apalencado
- 11-11:15 p.m. — Break
- 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Breakout Sessions
- 12:30-1:30 p.m. — Lunch
- 1:30-2:30 p.m. — Keynote: Ivor Miller
- 2:30-4 p.m. — Breakout sessions
- 4-4:30 p.m. — David Crespy Theater performance
- 4-6 p.m. — Dinner break
- 6-8 p.m. — Art exhibit opening and reception
Thursday, April 11, 2024
- 9-9:15 a.m. — Welcoming Remarks at Stephens College
- 9:15-10 a.m. — Keynote: William Luis
- 10-11 a.m. — Diago's exhibit at Stephen's Library
- 11 a.m.-noon — Nancy Morejon Poetry
- Noon-2 p.m. — Lunch
- 2-4 p.m. — Breakout session
- 3-3:15 p.m. — Break
- 3:15-4 p.m. — Roman Diaz performance
Friday, April 12
- 8:30-9 a.m. — Breakfast
- 9-9:45 a.m. — Keynote: Elzbieta Esklodowska
- 9:45 -10:45 a.m. — Premier of Rene Pena provocation in photography
- 10:45 - 11 a.m. — Break
- 11-11:30 a.m. — Monse Duany Performance
- 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Lunch
- 12:30 - 2 p.m. — Breakout Sessions
- 2-2:15 p.m. — Break
- 2:15 -3:15 p.m. — Screening of Fátima Patterson, Race, Gender and Theater / Raza, género y teatro
- 3:15-4:45 p.m. — Artist Roundtable: Fatimata Vetu, Devorah Major, Adelia Parker, Denise Ward Brown
- 4:45 - 5:30 p.m. — Fátima Patterson performance
- 5:30 -6 p.m. — Break
- 6-8 p.m. — Closing Banquet
Afro-Cuban Legacies will include screenings of documentary films directed by Juanamaria Cordones-Cook that feature the Afro-Cuban artists present at the conference.
Diago, a Maroon Artist / Artista apalencado (Cuba 2013), ca. 28 minutes long with English subtitles. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Comment: presentation of a prominent multimedia artist, Juan Roberto Diago (1972). Diago understands the creative possibilities of recycling and bricolage and frequently enriches his images by juxtaposing graffiti with racially contesting implications. He has labeled himself a “maroon artist” and his art work results in cultural resistance. In this documentary, Diago openly discusses issues of race and poverty in contemporary Cuba, as well as their representation in his paintings and installations.
Nancy Morejón: Famous Landscapes / Paisajes célebres (Cuba 2013), ca. 52 minutes long with English subtitles. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. This documentary offers a unique perspective on contemporary Cuban culture and intellectual life through the world, artistic achievements and life experience of one of its most celebrated poets, Nancy Morejón (Havana 1944), as well as through the voices and images of prominent Afro-Cuban intellectuals. The music was performed by Richard Egües, Marta Valdés, and Elena Burke.
Fátima Patterson, Race, Gender and Theater / Raza, género y teatro (Cuba 2019), ca. 43 minutes long with English subtitles. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Comment: Presentation of the personal and artistic journey of Fátima de la Caridad Patterson Patterson (Santiago de Cuba 1951), storyteller, actress, theater director, and playwright, who has been distinguished with the Premio Nacional de Teatro 2017, the highest theater award in Cuba. Founder of the Macubá theater group in Santiago de Cuba, Fátima Patterson combats disremembering. She addresses issues of race, gender, and popular religion, through theater and oral history, a genre she masterly practices and incorporates in her artistic work. In a combination of performances, rhythms, and dances, this documentary presents the origin and development of this charismatic artist who with a strong sense of belonging brings to her creations her personal experience intertwined with traditions and components of the ancestral African heritage. The film is enriched by comments of leading Cuban intellectuals, Alberto Lescay Merencio, Enrique Bonne, Vivian Martínez Tabares, Georgina Herrera, Orlando Vergés, and Marino Wilson Jay, complemented by images of Santiago with music by José Aquiles Virelles Rodríguez and the Conga de los Hoyos.