Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón
The Fowler Museum , Los Angeles, United States 02 Oct 2016 - 12 Feb 2017
Belkis Ayón, La consagración II (The Consecration II), 1991. Collograph. 230 x 303 cm. Collection of the Belkis Ayón Estate.
The Fowler Museum at UCLA is the first museum in the United States to host a solo exhibition dedicated to the work of the late Cuban visual artist Belkis Ayón (1967–99), whom during her short but fertile career, produced an extraordinary body of work central to the history of contemporary printmaking in Cuba.
Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón opens Oct. 2 and runs through Feb. 12, 2017. The exhibition presents 43 prints that encompass a wide range of the artist’s graphic production from 1984 until her untimely passing in 1999. Ayón mined the founding narrative of the Afro-Cuban fraternal society called Abakuá to create an independent and powerful visual iconography. She is highly regarded for her signature technique of collography, a printing process in which a variety of materials of various textures and absorbencies are collaged onto a cardboard matrix and then run through the press.
Her deliberately austere palette of subtle tones of black, white, and gray add drama and mystery to her narratives, many of which were produced at very large scale by joining multiple printed sheets.
For a black Cuban woman, both her ascendency in the contemporary printmaking world and her investigation of a powerful all-male brotherhood were notable and bold. The exhibition covers a wide range of her graphic production from 1984 until her untimely passing. Nkame, a word synonymous with “greeting” and “praise” in the language of Abakuá, is a posthumous tribute to the artist as well as a sweeping overview of her most fertile period of artistic creativity. The project is guest curated by Cristina Vives, an independent curator and art critic based in Havana, Cuba, and is organized by the Belkis Ayón Estate and Dr. Katia Ayón with the Fowler Museum at UCLA.
Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón is organized by the Belkis Ayón Estate and Dr. Katia Ayón with the Fowler Museum at UCLA and is guest curated by Cristina Vives. Funding for Nkame is provided in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance with additional support from JoAnn and Ronald Busuttil, Carole and Alex Rosenberg, the Shirley and Ralph Shapiro Fund, the Southern California Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Susan Adelman and Claudio Llanos, Fabio Banegas and Charles Larson, Carolyn Covault, Jay Geller and Lowell Gallagher, Elizabeth and Graeme Gilfillan, Linda Kunik and Rodney Millar, Dallas Price-Van Breda, and The Charitable Foundation.