The Cutting Image. Sovereign Dreams and Black Cuban Imaginaries — A Conversation with Gertrudis Rivalta

March 25, 2022 | 5:30 PM EST

Join us for “The Cutting Image. Sovereign Dreams and Black Cuban Imaginaries—A Conversation with Gertrudis Rivalta” as we welcome Gertrudis Rivalta, internationally acclaimed multidisciplinary artist and current 2022 Hemi Mellon Artist in Residence. The panel discussion will honor her current solo exhibition Selected Pages, on view at the Thomas Nickles Project (March 16 - April 24), as well as her extraordinary vision and career. Rivalta will be joined by María Antonia Cabrera Arús, Ana Dopico, Dantaé Elliott, Kristen Thomas, and Jacqueline Loss, for a conversation about the multidimensional universes that she brings to fruition in her work, as well as the hegemonic accounts of history that she meticulously reconstructs within it. Born and educated in Cuba, Rivalta's work subjects Cuban society, from the colonial period to the present, to her own vision, as intellectual as it is playful, joyous, embittered, and cutting.


Gertrudis Rivalta Oliva
Born in 1971 in Santa Clara, Cuba, Gertrudis Rivalta Oliva is a multi-disciplinary artist whose trajectory includes drawing, sculpture, painting, photography, video, and performance. A graduate of the Instituto Superior de Arte de la Habana (Havana) in 1996, Rivalta has exhibited her work in some of the most important Cuban galleries and museums, such as the Centro Wifredo Lam, the Fototeca of Cuba, the 23rd and 12th Gallery, the Cuban National Museum of Fine Arts, the Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, as well as in international spaces such as the Art Museum of Ponce (Ponce, Puerto Rico), the Cultural Center (Manila, The Philippines), the Iber-American Museum of Contemporary Art (Badajoz, Spain), Track 16 Gallery (LA, California), Gallery Adhoc (Vigo, Spain), and Espace Croix-Baragnon (Toulouse, France). Among her most acclaimed solo shows is Evans or not Evans (1998, University of Alicante) that revisited the work of the North American photographer Walker Evans in Cuba. Her work formed part of the 1997 group show Queloides, the first-ever exhibition in Cuba focusing on race and the place that black people occupy in Cuban society. Her work is held in collections in Cuba, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. As Artist in Residence, Rivalta will present her solo exhibition Selected Pages at the Thomas Nickles Project in New York City and take part in a number of public programs.

Dantaé Elliot
PhD Candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University, with a focus on contemporary Caribbean Art and Poetry/Performance and its relation to migration within the Caribbean diaspora and region through the exploration of the phenomenon called the “barrel children syndrome.” She is also the program assistant for the Caribbean Initiative workshop series at the Center for Caribbean and Latin American Studies. She received her B.A. from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia from the Department of Modern Languages and her Master of Arts from the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. She will be a featured artist in Volume 04 of Forgotten Lands Catalog, titled Currents of Africa, releasing Spring 2022.

Maria A. Cabrera Arús
María A. Cabrera Arús is a sociologist who studies the impact of fashion and domestic material culture on regime stability and legitimation, with a focus on state socialist regimes and the Caribbean region during the Cold War. Her research has appeared in journals and book anthologies, including in The Oxford Handbook in Communist Visual Cultures (2020), and The Revolution from Within (Duke University Press, 2019). She is the author of the multi-awarded project Cuba Material, a digital archive of Cuban material culture from the Cold War era, and curator of several exhibitions based on her collections. She is an adjunct professor at New York University.

Kristen Thomas
Kristen Thomas is the director and cofounder of Thomas Nickles Project, a gallery specializing in contemporary Cuban art located in New York City’s Lower East Side. The gallery opened in August 2020 with a program consisting of emerging and underrepresented artists living in Cuba and abroad.

Jacqueline Loss
Jacqueline Loss, professor of Latin American and Caribbean Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut, is the author of Dreaming in Russian. The Cuban Soviet Imaginary (2013) and Cosmopolitanisms and Latin America: Against the Destiny of Place (2005) and co-editor of Caviar with Rum: Cuba-USSR and the Post-Soviet Experience (with José Manuel Prieto, 2012) and New Short Fiction from Cuba (with Esther Whitfield, 2007).

Ana Dopico
Ana Dopico is the Director of the Hemispheric Institute at New York University, and a comparative scholar of the Americas, Cuba, the Caribbean, and the Global South. She is also Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at NYU. From 2014-2019, she was Director of NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center. Professor Dopico's essays and cultural journalism on the Cuban present have been published and translated in print media and literary journals, including The New York Times, NACLA, Al Adab (Arabic), L'Avenc (Catalan) and in the digital project Bridges to/from Cuba. In her book project, Cubanologies, Altered States of the Nation, Professor Dopico examines the "imagined disunity" of the nation revealed by 20th century Cuban culture, wherein altered political states fracture the unifying political and racial myths of cubanidad.

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