With the evocative name of “Dagorretypes” (in a clear allusion to the former method of capturing an archetype of reality), Dagoberto Driggs Dumoi has set up an exposition in a salon of the Holguin Writers Union a few weeks ago.
The display of deficiencies is based on a series of photographs imprinted in metal. They are all snapshots which Driggs Dumoi managed to capture several years ago. Taking advantage of his job as designer for the Provincial Council of Plastic Arts, he captured the moment when the old sugar cane factories were being torn down.
In the contemporary world, art usually accompanies (and in all sense, criticizes) political actions which claim to be universal discourse. This exposition can be classified as “politically correct”. If we pay attention to the inclusion of an organization of artists which promote the defense of socialism, and the fact that the current president Miguel Barnet considers himself an open-minded communist, what Driggs has done is provide a testimony of the past and present, an identifiable mark like Cuban sugar has made a compassionate explorer of Dagoberto.
Regardless, Dagoberto Driggs captures a national disaster. Nineteenth-century sugar and slavery. Industry and nationalization. And we can also see the scars of expropriations which counted on the majority’s euphoria and approval 52 years ago. Through the provocation represented by all forms of art, Driggs unveils a deep wound of the country. We are before a cultural work which bases itself on the discourse of the periphery for various reasons. Five years ago, these “Dagorretypes” would have seemed like opportunists and the social person that is this artist would have seemed like a dealer of exotic consummations. On the other hand, the act of putting a rest to those realities, when thousands of workers in the Cuba of sugar mills were left unemployed and their lives were drastically transformed upon seeing their only source of income vanish, places it far from the practice of melancholy, but instead as pure documentation.
The remains of pipes, pieces of zinc and rusty screws establish their destiny through the trick of a sepia photograph. The imprecise demarcation between reality and fiction which Driggs has been interested to traverse in order to define his work about the discourse of political submission, in the case of many Cuban artists is well known.
Citing previous installations, plastics which have plowed through unprecedented lands to uproot the high courts of modern globalized art and a parody of a reality identified by insular deficiencies, Driggs is situated as an unprecedented loudspeaker which speaks his truths.
With an excellent guardianship and a montage between formality and impression, the “Dagorretypes” are more than just a display of art, they are a social gestures which were very much needed in this land of fertile sugarcane fields.
Translated by Raul G.
12 September 2011