Belkis Ayón (1967-1999) was a Cuban master printmaker whose unexpected creative expression by way of featuring the Abakuá culture in her collographs made for the more meaningful statement of the Artist as a self-proclaimed Atheist and lover of science. The Afro-centric myths of the Abakuá — specifically the legend of Sikán, a story of African origin transplanted to the Americas — was Ayón’s artistic foundation for her large-format, limited edition prints.
What was interesting about Ayón’s homage to the male-dominated Abakuá culture was that she purposefully used a female form in her Abakuá inspired artwork, often using herself as the model. This was profound in that Ayón was able to present her world view through a conceptual-art medium of her collographs, all the while highlighting the confines of the traditions of Havana’s rich religious culture. Ayón’s mastery of collography, a classical printing technique usually reserved for scene decorations, wherein the print plate is an assemblage of collages layers of ink, is obvious. The unusual textures of the ink on paper really is breathtaking.
Fowler’s retrospective on the works of Belkis Ayón really is a testament of how well respected the Artist is to this day. A life gone too soon, unfortunately. Her art fortunately will live on.
Here are some photos of the beautiful works of Havana artist, Belkis Ayón. Enjoy.
NKAME: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón
October 2, 2016 – February 12, 2017
Fowler Museum at UCLA
308 Charles E. Young Drive North
Los Angeles, CA 90024
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