About the Exhibition

Featuring works by internationally renowned artists, this exhibit explores the mythologies of liberation and fulfillment promised by modern life, as well as the peculiar challenges they represent for island Cubans who must navigate Cuba’s contradictory system of combining capitalism with Communist rule, since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Through sculpture, painting, photography and mixed media, artists Roberto Diago, Manuel Mendive, Eduardo (“Choco”) Roca, Abel Barroso, Mabel Poblet and Luis Enrique Camejo interrogate the ways that consumerism, migration, patriarchy and the legacies of slavery shape the definitions and differential experiences of freedom that 21st- century technology affords all of us. Yet these works anchor the viewer in deeply Cuban locations of consciousness, revealing how austerity and sacrifice, self-reliance and dependence, fear and valor, joy and anguish reflect central principles of survival in a society where egalitarian dreams have long clashed with scarcity, poverty and painful political realities.

In Mendive’s mixed media sculptures and vivid paintings that evoke the spiritual world of Regla de Ocha (the slave-born religion better known as Santería) as well as Mabel Poblet’s deceptively iconic images of feminine beauty in objects made from recrafted photographs, Archives of Consciousness draws on culturally specific worlds of feeling to create visually stunning dialogues of wisdom and understanding. Like Poblet’s oceanscapes, Luis Enrique Camejo’s vast underpopulated urban landscape paintings, punctuated with antiquated cars, convey a sense of isolation and longing for the world beyond. The daily struggles of Cubans to claim the right to both knowledge and leisure are painstakingly documented in Abel Barroso’s whimsical, hand-carved wooden sculptures and intricate collages. Roberto Diago’s highly moving spiritual and abstract works often made up of cloth fragments woven together draw upon the complexities of his Afro-Cuban heritage and the embedded history of racism and slavery in Cuba. Addressing similar themes, master printmaker Choco summons intensity in colorful sculptures and collagraphs that document how political scrutiny and an exclusionary gaze haunt and historically define the limits of identity and personal freedom for all Cubans, but most especially for those of African descent.

This exhibition was curated by Dr. Lillian Guerra, University of Florida, Gainesville, and Dr. Arianne Faber Kolb. Drawn from the collection of Terry and Steven Certilman, the works of these six artists open up a living archive of thoughts and aspirations, enabling us to reflect on the essences and emotions that make up the paradoxes of life, and the strength that comes from their exploration. The faculty liaison and exhibition programming collaborator for this exhibition was Dr. Michelle Farrell.




Family Activity Guide Art of Cuba

Opening Night Lecture: Archives of Consciousness: Six Cuban Artists

Thursday, January 23, 5 p.m.
Dr. Lillian Guerra, Curator of the Exhibition
Professor of History, University of Florida.
Quick Center, Wien Experimental Theatre

Opening Reception: Archives of Consciousness: Six Cuban Artists

Thursday, January 23, 6-7:30 p.m.
Quick Center, Lobby and Walsh Gallery

Panel: Cuba Today: Internet access, El Paquete, and the New Filmmakers

Friday, February 7, 1-4 p.m.
1:00-2:15 p.m

Javier Labrador Deulofeu, Cuban Filmmaker
Yaima Pardo, Cuban Filmmaker and Internet Activist
Julia Weist, Artist
Dr. Michelle Farrell, Associate Professor, Fairfield University
Coffee break: 2:15-2:45
Film Screening – Selection of Cuban Short Films 2:45-4:00 p.m.
Followed by a Roundtable Conversation
DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Multimedia Room

Organized and facilitated by Dr. Michelle Farrell.
Generously supported by The Humanities Institute and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.

Film Screening: Wheel of Life (Patchwork Films, 2015, running time: 15 minutes) followed by a dance class to learn the Casino with instructor Victoria Harel. Organized by Dra. Michelle Leigh Farrell

Thursday, February 13, 5 p.m.
Dance Class: Learn the Casino
(The Cuban dance that launched the salsa)
with instructor Victoria Harel. Organized by Dr. Michelle Farrell.
Quick Center, Wien Experimental Theatre

Lecture: The Art of Manuel Mendive

Wednesday, February 26, 5 p.m.
Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz, Associate Professor, Department of Art History, Indiana University
Quick Center, Wien Experimental Theatre
Part of the Edwin L. Wiesl, Jr. Lectureships in Art History, funded by the Robert Lehman Foundation

Lecture: The Art of Black Mobilization: Afro-Latin American Artists, History and Racial Justice

Thursday, April 2, TO BE POSTED ONLINE
Alejandro de la Fuente, Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics, Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Multimedia Room
Part of the Edwin L. Weisl, Jr. Lectureships in Art History, funded by the Robert Lehman Foundation

Gallery Talk: Collecting Cuban Art, with Steve Certilman

Quick Center, Walsh Gallery

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Additional Information

Bellarmine Hall Galleries and Walsh Gallery Hours:

Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. We are closed for national and university holidays and during inclement weather.


The museum is open to the public and admission is free.


Private tours with a curator are available for a fee; please contact museum@fairfield.edu or 203-254-4046.


Walsh Gallery is located in the Quick Center for the Arts on the campus of Fairfield University. For GPS please use the following address: 200 Barlow Road, Fairfield, CT, 06824

Enter through the stone gates of the University, then turn right onto McInnes Road. The Quick Center is to your left, and parking is to your right..

Reach Us By Car:

CT Turnpike (I-95) from New York:

Exit 22, left on Round Hill Rd. Follow to second stop sign, turn right on Barlow Rd. Follow 1/2 block to University entrance on left through stone gates. Follow directions above.

CT Turnpike (I-95) from New Haven:

Exit 22, right on North Benson Rd. Follow to first stop light, turn left on Barlow Rd. Follow 1/2 block to University entrance on right through stone gates. Follow directions above.

Merritt Parkway (Rt. 15) from New York:

Exit 44, left at end of ramp, right on Black Rock Tpke. Follow 2 mi., turn right on Stillson Rd (Rt. 135 South). At second light, bear left onto North Benson Rd. At second light, turn right on Barlow Rd. Follow 1/2 block to University entrance on right through stone gates. Follow directions above.

Merritt Parkway (Rt. 15) from New Haven:

Exit 44, at end of ramp make a left. At first light make left onto Black Rock Turnpike. Follow directions above.


Free parking available at the lot in front of the Quick Center, including handicap parking.

Museum Parking Map

Reach Us By train:

Take Metro-North, New Haven Line, to Fairfield Station (approximately 70 minutes from Grand Central Station).

For further information or to schedule a visit or tour, please contact

Fairfield University Art Museum
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 254-4046

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