Tag Archives: Syncretism

El Otro Lado Del Alma: Syncretisms in Contemporary Cuban Photography

The Black Atlantic Resource is pleased to announce new research materials online relating to the exhibition el otro lado del alma, including images from the exhibition alongside two articles from the catalogue (in English and German) The Other Side of the Soul, by Curator of the exhibition Moritz Neumüller, and Gods Without Masters by Cuban Anthropologist and expert in syncretistic religions Natalia Bolívar.

El otro lado del alma is not an ethnological exhibition. It is a show on Contemporary Cuban Photography, with a thematic focus on a cultural phenomenon. El otro lado del alma is not an anthology of Cuban photography. Yet, it does give an idea of the various artistic tendencies in contemporary artistic creation in Cuba. El otro lado del alma does not repeat the classic clichés on Cuba, such as vintage cars, Che Guevara and the deterioration of Old Havana. It was co-produced by (and for) Cuba’s National Museum of Photography and therefore gives an inside view in contemporary Cuban live, that takes place far from the tourist attractions (but sometimes also near to them).

Cuban culture has often been described as a product of a syncretistic process, in which the Afro-Cuban cults play an important part. These religions originate from the intermingling of African spirituality with Spanish Catholicism and beliefs of the native inhabitants. El otro lado del alma (the other side of the soul) was produced in cooperation with the Fototeca de Cuba, Havana’s Museum of Photography. It is the first comprehensive exhibition on the role of syncretisms in contemporary Cuban photography and video art. At the same time, the subject serves to contrast two vivid photographic traditions on the island: On the one hand, the great achievements of Epic Photography which are still widely present in reportages and journalistic photography. On the other hand, contemporary Cuban photography and video art are often seen in the context of New Cuban Art and neo-conceptualism. These new approaches have largely substituted the documentary viewpoint in recent art exhibitions and publications. Articles from th is exhibition catalogue, however,presents a wide range of different contemporary positions reflecting el otro lado del alma, the other side of the Cuban soul.

The exhibition has been shown in the following venues:
Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba: February 12th, 2003 – Mach 6th, 2003
Kornhausforum, Bern, Switzerland: January 20th – March 20th, 2005
Clarisses’ Church, Bratislava Month of Photography: Nov. 3rd – Dec. 3rd, 2006

Participating artists:
Pedro Abascal, Juan Carlos Alóm, Jorge Luis Álvarez Pupo, Raúl Cañibano, Elio Delgado, Ricardo Elías Kattia García, LyN (Liudmila Velasco and Nelson R. de Arellano), Humberto Mayol, Ramón Pacheco, René Peña, Marta María Pérez Bravo, and Sandra Ramos.

To view these exciting new research materials click here.