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Juanamaría Cordones-Cook
University of Missouri

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Afro-Cuban Artists: A Renaissance
is an international, interdisciplinary conference hosted by the MU Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. This four-day event will be of interest to scholars, and students, as well as creative artists working in the African Diaspora, Cuban/Caribbean /Latin American arts, art history, history, culture, religions, ritual, performances, gender or ethnic studies. The conference will explore various topics related to the aesthetics, socio-cultural and political antecedents, context and impact of the Afro-Cuban artists who came of age after 1959.  See for more information and to register - registration is now open. Deadlines: March 28 for hotels, April 20th for the conference.

Columbia, Missouri: April 27-30, 2016

Renaissance men: Exhibit honors artists who brought Afro-Cuban experience into focus  3/6/2016 Columbia Daily Tribune: "A new Afro-Cuban exhibit at the University of Missouri’s Museum of Art and Archaeology reclaims some of that depth and dimension. It focuses on two artists who clarify Cuba only after diving deeper into its complicated, multifaceted identity. Manuel Mendive and Eduardo “Choco” Roca Salazar employ two different aesthetics but complement one another, displaying what it was like to emerge from Castro’s Revolution as artists and black men."

Keynote lectures

Nancy Morejón
Cuban poet and author, President of the Cuban Academy of Language

William Luis
Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Spanish,
Editor of Afro-Hispanic Review

Alejandro de la Fuente
Professor of Latin American History and Economics, Harvard University

James Early
Author, formerly Director, Cultural Heritage Policy, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Artists in attendance with exhibits

Manuel Mendive

Eduardo Roca Salazar “Choco”

Santiago Rodriguez Olazábal

Juanamaría Cordones-Cook: Selected Documentaries On Cuban Artists And Poetstop

By Juanamaría Cordones-Cook, University of Missouri
(   and

1. Cimarroneando con G.H. (2011), 30 minutes long with English subtitles. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Filmed with Imágenes del Caribe company. A candid interview with the poet Georgina Herrera (Jovellanos, Cuba, 1936) discussing personal memories, gender issues, racial relations, and racism in socialist Cuba.

2. Nancy Morejón: Paisajes célebres / Famous Landscapes (2013), ca. 5 minutes long with English subtitles. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Filmed with Imágenes del Caribe company. This documentary offers a unique perspective on contemporary Cuban culture and intellectual life through the world and artistic achievements 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.

3. Un libro único de Estévez / A One-of-a-Kind Book by Estévez (2012), ca. 14 minutes long with English subtitles. Filmed with Imágenes del Caribe company. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Comment: the conception and creation of an art-object book on the poem "Amo a I amp" / “I Love My Master”, by Nancy Morejón.

4. La Habana expuesta, un diseño de Estévez / Havana on Display, a Design by Estévez (2012), on anthology of poetry by Nancy Morejón, edited by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook, ca. 21 minutes long with English subtitles. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Comment: the design of a book to be reproduced 200 times by the craftsmen and women of Ediciones Vigía as presented by Rolando Estévez Jordán.

5. Ediciones Vigía: Poéticas visuales / Visual Poetics (2012), ca. 51 minutes long with English subtitles. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Filmed with Imágenes del Caribe company. Comment: the development and evolution of the press, the production of a Vigia book as well as interviews with Vigía craftmen and women, and numerous other outstanding Cuban intellectuals who have been involved with press from its inception, such as poet laureate Nancy Morejón, composer Marta Valdés, art historian Adelaida de Juan, anthropolgist Ruth Behar, among others.

6. Vigía: Entre la imagen y la palabra / Between the Image and the Word (2012), ca. 98 minutes long with English subtitles. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Filmed with Imágenes del Caribe company. A brief panoramic view of the evolution of Ediciones Vigía by its main artist and designer Rolando Estévez Jordán.

7. Ediciones Vigía (1985-2011): Abriendo archivos / Opening Archives (2013), ca. 7 hours and 30 minutes long with English subtitles. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Filmed with Imágenes del Caribe company. Comment: Vigía’s principal designer and artist, Rolando Estévez Jordán, chronologically discusses the entire collection of books, while highlighting technological developments and changes, as well as innovations in aesthetic languages. This documentary is an audiovisual archive of 27 years of Ediciones Vigía book production. Not a complete record but close.

8. Diago, artista apalencado / A Maroon Artist (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), who employs discarded materials. Diago understands the creative possibilities of recycling and bricolage and enriches his images by juxtaposing graffiti with racially contesting intent. 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.

9. Rogelio Martínez Furé: Un griot cubano / A Cuban Griot (2014), ca. 30 minutes with English subtitles. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Comment: presentation of a writer, Africanist, scholar of folklore, and religion, and founder of the National Folkloric Ballet. Through conversations with Furé and other prominent Afro-Cuban intellectuals, as well as images of religious rituals and dances of the National Folkloric Ballet and the Olurum Group, film discloses layers of Cuba’s rich cultural heritage and African legacy. It portrays Furé as a contemporary griot, a repository of oral tradition who recovers and guards Afro-Cuban and Caribbean silenced memories and true identity.

10. Choco (2014), ca. 29 minutes long with English subtitles. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Comment: presentation of Eduardo “Choco” Roca Salazar, an artist who embodies the cultural success of the Cuban Revolution in its promotion of the arts. Born in a working class family in a small town in the Oriente province, Choco graduated from Cuba’s National Superior School of Art and became a world famous print-maker. Documentary shows Choco at work in his Old Havana workshop, as well as visiting his former art school and a vast collection of his art work from the start of his career. Film is enriched by readings by Nancy Morejón and Pablo Milanés, as well as the music created specially for this film by Miguelito Núñez.

11. El mundo mágico de Mendive / The Magical World of Mendive, ca. 40 minutes long. Direction and production by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Comment: Film offers a unique perspective into the personal and artistic world of Manuel Mendive, the leading contemporary Cuban artist. Creating in various genres, drawing, painting, body painting, soft and hard sculpture, installations, and performances, Mendive is also a Santería priest, whose spirituality permeates all of his creations. This documentary shows a broad spectrum of his work including his latest performance in Havana, Las Cabezas (May 2012). Mendive appears painting in his studio as well as in the midst of his tropical forest offering some unprecedented remarks on his early life, on African elements in his art while he discusses his aesthetics and his profound fascination with the creative process. This film is enriched with comments by major Cuban intellectuals, Adelaida de Juan, Nancy Morejón, Pablo Armando Fernández, and Yolanda Wood, as well as with music by Ulises Hernández and Argeliers León.

Contact Bruce Cox, Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri
573-882-6724 or email


Estrenan documental El mundo mágico de Mendive  5/12/2015 ACN: "El documental El mundo mágico de Mendive, de la realizadora uruguaya Juanamaría Cordones-Cook, de la Universidad de Missouri, Estados Unidos, fue estrenado hoy en el Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, de esta capital. La poetisa y ensayista Nancy Morejón, Premio Nacional de Literatura, al presentar el audiovisual destacó que la cineasta atrapa en 40 minutos la cosmogonía en constate desarrollo y enriquecimiento de Manuel Mendive, uno de los artistas imprescindibles en la Cuba de hoy."

Homenaje a Georgina Herrera en Universo Avellaneda  3/17/2014 Negra Cubana Tenia que Ser: "En el marco del Encuentro Universo Avellaneda, se realizará un homenaje a la escritora cubana Georgina Herrera, que incluye la exhibición del documental Cimarroneando con G.H (30.51'), de Juana María Cordones-Cook. El documental es una entrevista a Georgina Hertenera, sobre su vida y su poética, en diálogo con su poesía, también leída por ella."

Académicos rinden homenaje a poetisa Nancy Morejón en EE.UU  6/1/2013 Cuba Debate: "El XXXI Congreso de Estudios Latinoamericanos (LASA, por sus siglas en inglés) rindió honores a la poetisa cubana Nancy Morejón con la presentación del filme Paisajes Célebres, que recoge aspectos de su vida y de su obra. El documental realizado por Juanamaría Cordones-Cook aborda las raíces de la poetisa, Premio Nacional de Literatura y Presidenta de la Academia Cubana de la Lengua, desde el ámbito artístico y familiar incluyendo un recorrido por su obra."

Nancy Morejón: Paisajes célebres  2/17/2012 University of Missouri: Almost 9 minutes, with subtitles - "This trailer introduces the documentary Nancy Morejon: Paisajes Celebres, which will be released by the end of 2012. It is produced and directed by Professor Juanamaria Cordones-Cook, and filmed by Imágenes del Caribe under the direction of Gloria Rolando. For more information on the film contact: Juanamaria Cordones-Cook,"

Georgina Herrera, una cimarrona contempóranea  3/29/2011 Negra Cubana: "La Asociación de Escritores de la UNEAC propone para el miércoles 30 de marzo a las 6 de la tarde, un encuentro con la obra de Georgina Herrera desde la perspectiva de Juanamaría Cordones, profesora del Departamento e Literatura y Lenguas Romances de la Universidad de Missouri."

Las amarras de la memoria  2/20/2010 AfroCubaWeb: "GEORGINA HERRERA presenta: Soltando amarras y memorias: Mundo y poesía de Nancy Morejón, de Juanamaría Cordones-Cook."

Emelina Cundeamor: Entre la máscara y la autenticidad  7/1/2006 Telon de Fondos: "Con una consciencia social satírica transgresora, plena de humor e ingenio, en Emelina Cundeamor, Eugenio Hernández Espinosa ha desmantelado tanto la definición hegemónica de otredad en categorías de oscuridad e irracionalidad, como el primitivismo y el impulso mimético de enmascaramiento que promueve, mientras propone una relatividad cultural, heterogénea y emancipadora, mediante el desenmascaramiento y la autenticidad."

Liturgias: Máscaras de identidad sefardita  9/1/2003 Judios 

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