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Press Release

Center for Cuban Studies (CCS)

CCS page on Maferefún Cuba

Salvador González


Afro-Cuba de Matanzas

Maferefún, African Spirituality in Cuban Art: a show
at the Metropolitan Pavillion Gallery

      The Center for Cuban Studies is hosting a star-studded show:


Sept. 15 - 27

123 W. 18th St. 4th floor, NYC
hours: 2 - 7pm daily

Juan Carlos Alom, Zaida del Rio, Carlos Estévez, Fermin Fleites, Eduardo Garaicoa, Salvador González, Francisco Gordillo, Alejandro Lazo, Alicia Leal, José Mederos, Manuel Mendive, Montebravo, René Peña, Douglas Pérez, Bernardo Prieto, Roberto Salas, Jose Angel Vincench, and invited NY artists Felipe García and Manuel Vega.

Tuesday, Sept. 15th, 6 - 10 pm

Artists Manuel Mendive, Salvador González, et al. will be present.
Ritual Afro-Cuban music and dance featuring
Orlando "Puntilla" Ríos, Felipe Garcia, members of Clave y Guaguanco
et al.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 22nd, 7:30 pm
Lecture and panel discussion wirth:

Robert Farris Thompson, Pedro Pérez Sarduy, Armando Fernandez

THURSDAY, SEPT. 24 (Day of Obatalá)
Grupo AfroCuba de Matanzas, 7:30 pm

Only US performance of Orú Cantado, Iyesá, Abakuá.
Celebrating their new release "Raices Africanas" (on Shanachie)
$20 (advanced ticket sales only)

In association w/ Kubasol productions


Press Release

"Maferefún Cuba" to open in New York on September 15th

A groundbreaking exhibit and series of events highlighting African culture in the Cuban arts will bring together a rare combination of art, music, ceremony and talks from September 15 to 27 at the Metropolitan Pavilion Gallery, 123 West 18th Street, 4th floor, New York City. The Cuban Art Space of the Center for Cuban Studies is presenting the exhibit.

"Maferefún Cuba" (the word is Yorubá and has many meanings -- it is a greeting, it confers a blessing, it invokes the power of the spirit world) is a multi-media exhibit of Cuban art that uses the symbols and practices of African-based religions as part of its aesthetic. Afro-Cuban culture draws on a wide variety of traditions like the Lucumí of Yoruba origin (often referred to as Santería in the U.S.), the Bantú of Congolese origin, the Abakuá from the Calabar region of West Africa and the Dahomey-based tradition of the Arará. It represents one of the richest manifestations of African traditions in contemporary Latin society and its influence reaches well beyond the borders of Cuba to the rest of the Americas, especially New York.

Many of Cuba's finest artists are represented in the show, including Manuel Mendive, Carlos Estévez, Zaida del Rio, Salvador González, Juan Carlos Alom, Rene Peña, Roberto Salas, Alicia Leal, Eduardo Garaicoa, Bernardo Prieto, Fermin Fleites, José Angel Vincench, Douglas Pérez, and others. New York-based artists will take part too: Puerto Rican Manuel Vega and Cuban drum-maker and bead-worker Felipe García Villamil.

Several of the artists will be present for the exhibit (visas permitting), including Manuel Mendive, one of Cuba's best-known artists; 24-year-old Fermín Fleites, one of the most talented of the newest crop of Cuban artists, and the dynamic duo of Eduardo Garaicoa and Bernardo Prieto. Painter and muralist Salvador González, featured in a March Rolling Stone article by Jimmy Buffett, has been invited to paint a mural in Spanish Harlem in conjunction with the exhibit.

An opening celebration will take place on September 15, from 6 to 10 p.m., with a program of ritual music and dance featuring Cuban masters Orlando "Puntilla" Rios, Felipe García and others. The visiting artists will speak briefly. Refreshments will be served.

On September 24, the day of the Orisha Obatalá, the great Cuban folkloric group AFROCUBA DE MATANZAS will perform at 7:30 p.m. in the exhibit space. It will be their only U.S. performance dedicated in its entirety to spiritually-based AfroCuban music; celebrating the Orishas with Batá drums and elements of the rarely seen Iyesá tradition, and presenting the powerful music and dance of the all-male Abakuá societies.

[Tickets for these two events MUST be ordered in advance by calling the Center for Cuban Studies (212) 242-0559, or can be purchased at the Center and other select cultural centers and outlets. Tickets are $15 for the opening, $20 for AfroCuba de Matanzas. Only 300 seats!]

Lively panels with talks by both Cuban and U.S. experts on African religious symbolism in Cuban art and related aspects of Afro-Cuban culture will be presented during the exhibit. Among those expected to speak are Cuban writers Pablo Armando Fernández and Pedro Pérez Sarduy. Finally, a street "rumba in the barrio" will mark the completion of Mr. González' mural.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Call the Center for Cuban Studies at (212) 242-0559 or visit the Events page of our Web site: (it has lots of graphics, information about the artists, etc.).

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