About the Work: Belkis Ayon’s mysterious images are based upon the mythology of the Afro-Cuban all-male secret society the Abakuá. The artist discovered the myths of the Abakuásthrough the writings of Lydia Cabrera and Enrique Sosa while studying at the San Alejandro art school in Havana. Originating in Calabar, Nigeria, the Abakuá is one of four religious-cultural groups of African origin that have been present in Cuba since colonial times. A recurring character in the work of Ayón, and her alter-ego at the same time, is Sikán, a princess who, according to a founding myth, revealed the secret of the Abukuá and was sacrificed by the men of the society.
Ayón, together with Sandra Ramos, Ibrahim Miranda and Abel Barroso, was one of the most important artists working with graphic art in Cuba during the 1990s. She worked in collography, a printing process in which the texture of different materials are transferred onto the paper. Ayón was able to combine surprisingly simple forms and tonal values with an abundance of textures to create images haunting in their quiet beauty.
Rights: Robert Gumbiner Foundation Collection
External Link: Museum of Latin American Art
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