This chronological survey traces the Cuban painter and sculptor Wifredo Lam’s (1902–82) career from the late 1930s to the ’70s, spotlighting the radically syncretic visual language he developed in response to modernism’s Eurocentricity. Born to a Chinese father and Congolese Iberian mother, Lam placed heritage centrally in his work. Early in his career, he associated with major figures such as Picasso, Matisse and Braque, and he was struck by their integration of African iconography. Although he greatly respected these European artists, the dissonance between their aesthetic choices and cultural experience was not lost on him—especially given the racism and exploitation that characterized Cuban society under the US-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Lam spent the rest of his career endeavoring to decolonize modernist art. From his early Surrealist works to his later preference for geometric abstraction, African sculpture and the Afro-Caribbean diaspora consistently informed his practice.
Hardcover/ 173 pages