‘Outsider’ Cuban Plastic Artists Exhibit Their ‘Hidden Art’ in Miami

Among the artists who participate are Damián Valdés Dilla and Rigoberto Casorla, along with other renowned creators such as Yaniel Agrafojo, Isaac Crespo and Gloria de la Caridad Castillo. (naemi.org)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Miami, 27 August 2022 — The National Art Exhibitions of the Mentally Ill (Naemi) Foundation, focused on so-called “outsider art,” inaugurates a new exhibition this Saturday in Miami with works by renowned “marginal” artists, such as the Cubans Jorge Alberto Cadi El Buzo and Misleidys Castillo.

The exhibition Ousider Art: Revealing Masters of Hidden Art, will open this Saturday at The ArtSpace gallery, on downtown 8th Street in Miami, and features works made with different techniques from Naemi’s collection.

In addition to the aforementioned Cuban artists, the exhibit includes Damián Valdés Dilla and Rigoberto Casorla (Rigo), along with other renowned creators such as Yaniel Agrafojo, Isaac Crespo and Gloria de la Caridad Castillo, according to a statement from the foundation.

“What attracts me the most in the art of people in recovery from mental illness and in ’outsider’ art is their authenticity and originality. Their art escapes the norms and conformism of most contemporary art,” Juan Martín, the executive director in charge of the Naemi exhibition, told EFE on Friday.

The new exhibition, which follows another one inaugurated earlier this year, also in Miami, coincides with the presence of works by three artists sponsored by Naemi in the renowned contemporary art exhibition, Documenta.

One of the most important exhibitions in the world in terms of contemporary art, along with the Venice Biennale, Documenta is held in Kassel, Germany every five years and will be open to the public in its fifteenth edition until September 25.

Martín, who has 1,200 “outsider” works of art in Naemi’s permanent collection and is looking for a partner to make exchanges, said that for him it’s “an honor” that these artists now exhibit at Documenta.

They are the Cuban artist, Damián Valdés, Boris Santamaría and Carlos El Profe.

Valdés is one of the artists of Art Ousider: Revealing Masters of Hidden Art, from Miami, Martín said proudly.

The promoter said that these artists rarely name their works.

“This exhibition in Documenta proves it: the art of the ’outsiders’ is the last bastion of the creative rebellion against the power of the system. It’s a great honor that Naemi artists are in this exhibition,” he said.

He also explained that the Cuban “outsider art” works exhibited at Documenta in Germany do not belong to Naemi’s collections, but have arrived there thanks to the renowned plastic artist, Tania Bruguera, who organized the exhibition.

Bruguera directs the Hannah Arendt International Institute of Artivism (Instar), based in Havana, which has been invited to the current edition of Documenta.

According to the Naemi Foundation, “’marginal art’ refers to incredibly unique works produced by artists who have not been formally trained in art, work outside the dominant artistic sphere and have unconventional visions of the world.”

The so-called “art brut” [“raw art” or “outsider art”] sometimes has its origin in collections of European psychiatric hospitals of the 19th century, where doctors clinically analyzed the work, it adds.

Artist Damián Valdés “at the moment is in a psychiatric hospital in Havana,” while Boris Santamaría is “a homeless person in Cuba,” Martín explained.

Last February, Naemi also inaugurated the exhibition The Language Game in Miami, with 40 works by artists with mental illnesses focused on text as a plastic expression, something present in so-called “outsider art” since 1919.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.