About the Exhibition

Gladys Triana (b. Cuba, 1934/37) is a New York based multi-disciplinary artist whose work rebels against authoritarian rule and the oppression of hegemonies. Her art expresses, with inexhaustible enthusiasm, her wonder at the form and mystery of small things, and has given her the courage to face the paradoxes of human existence and the darker side of history. In her case, the condition of her exile from her homeland of Cuba was more than merely losing the island of her origin forever. It was an actual expulsion from a promised utopia and a fall, experienced by the body confined in a space of hegemonic and dystopian power - inner exile. After leaving Cuba, Triana sought a language to reconstruct her home in its absence: an art created from a conjunction between inner strength and resistance to any power that forces one to bite one’s tongue. The early paintings in the exhibition reflect this struggle and artistic victory.

From 1984 to 1989, Triana created a powerful series based on the visceral gesture of destroying her own drawings and assembling them as collages in new mixed media works. This radical aesthetic turn mirrors a trajectory marked by ruptures and the start of a nomadic practice between different mediums, including installation, sculpture, photography, and video. In the 1990s, she composed her paintings with segments of abstract forms that are fragments of herself, and of all those who, in any place on earth other than their own, seek to “insert” themselves and find a new home for themselves, split between cultures, bifurcated, and dispersed. For her, there was no other way to return to the island of her birth, but through her lifelong artistic journey.

After 1995, her work began including the silhouette of the island of Cuba in a variety of media, many of which are included in this exhibition. But by the end of the millennium, detaching herself from any allusion to Cuba or to the ontology of women, the artist had found an inner space to see and represent, in peace, the conjunction of intimate and collective time. Gladys Triana would not only stand beyond the Cuban seashore, but beyond that window of every woman’s own room that she had long sought to represent.

More recently, over the last fifteen years Triana has used her camera in video and still photography, to devise, in the microcosm of her own home, a visual poetic saga with an aesthetic - as powerful as subtle - to enunciate inner freedom and to construct a vision of the ongoing evolution of our species. These more recent videos and photographs reveal Triana’s discovery, developed over the course of her extraordinarily rich career, of an abstract language for transcendence.

About the Artist:
Gladys Triana was born in Camagüey, Cuba in 1937, and has lived in New York City since 1975. Triana completed her B.A. at Mercy College in 1976, and M.A. at Long Island University in 1977. She also studied printmaking at San Fernando University in Madrid, Spain from 1970-1972. In 1957, Triana’s paintings caught the eye of artist Mario Carreño, Director of the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana, Cuba. Carreño included her work in a group exhibition at the museum, marking the beginning of a long career for Triana, who has since been described as one of the most authentic and versatile Cuban artists of her generation.

Triana is the recipient of two Cintas Fellowships in Art, two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants in 2015-16 and 2018-19, the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s CALL Program grant, and was the 2016 recipient of the Centro Cultural Cubano de Nueva York’s Amelia Peláez Award. Triana’s work has been presented in numerous solo exhibitions and group shows around the U.S. and abroad, including at the Bronx Museum of the Arts; El Museo del Barrio; El Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo; El Museo de Bellas Artes, Santiago de Chile; El Museo de la Ciudad, Mexico; Housatonic Museum of Art; NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale; Frost Art Museum, Miami, and ASU Art Museum, Arizona. More information and work can be found at www.gladystriana.com.

Curated by Aluna Curatorial Collective (Adriana Herrera and Willy Castellanos)

Translations by Adriana Herrera, PhD

Faculty liaison: Silvia Marsans-Sakly, PhD

Image: Gladys Triana, Nothing is Sacred, 1995, mixed media on canvas. Courtesy of the artist. © Gladys Triana

Explore the Exhibition

Browse Selected Images

Gladys Triana: A Path to Enlightenment (1971-2021) / Beyond Exile

Virtual Tour


Events listed below with a location are live, in-person programs. When possible, those events will also be streamed on thequicklive.com and the recordings posted to our YouTube channel.


Opening Lecture: Gladys Triana: A Path to Enlightenment/Beyond Exile

Saturday, September 24, 5 p.m.

Adriana Herrera, PhD, curator of the exhibition
Dolan Event Space and streaming on thequicklive.com
Part of the Edwin L. Weisl, Jr. Lectureships in Art History, funded by the Robert Lehman Foundation

Opening Reception: Gladys Triana: A Path to Enlightenment/Beyond Exile

Saturday, September 24, 6-8 p.m.

Quick Center Lobby and Walsh Gallery

Poetry Reading: Maya Islas

Monday, October 3, 5 p.m.

Dolan Event Space

Lecture: Conceived in Revolution: Cuba's Long Freedom Struggle

Tuesday, November 1, 5 p.m.

Silvia Marsans Sakly, PhD, Associate Professor of the Practice, Islamic World
Dolan Event Space and streaming on thequicklive.com

Family Day: Cuban Art

Saturday, November 12

For more educational resources, visit the DiMenna-Nyselius Library’s LibGuide for this exhibition.

Learn More

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.


For GPS please use the following address: 200 Barlow Road, Fairfield, CT, 06824, or click on the map image at right for directions.


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


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.

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

Museum Membership

Become a Member Today →