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Van Eijck, Jo-Ann (2004) Constructing contemporary Cuban female identity : Female traces in the visual arts. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This study will assess five contemporary female artists to explore ways in which their art production can be meaningfully read in relation to their sense of being Cuban and what this might mean for them at this juncture in Cuba's history. The first three chapters introduce the artists - Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Marta Maria Perez, Belkis Ayon, Tania Bruguera and Sandra Ramos - and the unique Cuban visual arts spectrum post-1980, vis-a-vis movements, people, ideology, education and the impact of socialist influences. Key factors regarding Cuban identity will also be examined; gender, race, socio-cultural and religious practices, as these elements have been fundamental to the self-conscious identity constructions of these women through their art. As products of the revolutionary process, artists have delivered sophisticated avant-garde high art creations that embody the worldviews of the Cuban people. And, as professional artists, they are afforded specific ideological, ethical and social responsibilities and privileges within Cuban society. Their creative endeavours have become much-needed critical spaces to comment when other Cubans cannot and to consider issues of specific relevance to their country. Drawing on the resources of iconography and various semiotic devices, the following three chapters focus on these women's lives and artistic trajectories via the topics they address, such as myth, religion, displacement and the Cuban Diaspora. As a recurrent element in their work and one historically connected to the Cuban visual arts tradition and notions of identity, their portrayals of the female body will be read as sites for socio-cultural, personal and ideological discourse within the parameters of the contemporary socialist Cuban framework. Also, the nature of the plastic arts medium and the possibilities inherent in being a Cuban artist will be examined, and the other 'bodies' present in their work; the body of the audience and the body of the artwork.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:11

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