The Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room provides an immersive space for members of the campus community and visitors to interact with each other locally and with people and places around the world.
Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: Wifredo Lam
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are celebrating, Wifredo Lam, an artist known for his portrayal of the Afro-Cuban spirit and culture.
The internationally renowned Cuban painter Wifredo Lam (1902-1982) was a precursor of a cross-cultural style of painting, infusing Western modernism with African and Caribbean symbolism. He was a Cuban artist of mixed-race ancestry. His Cuban mother was born to a former Congolese and a mixed-race father; his father was a Chinese immigrant to Cuba. Lam grew up surrounded by people of African descent. In fact, his godmother was a Santería priestess and healer, Thus, he sought to both represent and recover the enduring Afro-Cuban spirit and culture he witnessed and lived. He was inspired by other 20th-century, famous artists with whom he was in contact, e.g., Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera, to name a few. His blend of all his influences allowed him to create a unique style. Hybrid figures feature prominently in his work.
Lam never lost sight of the world around him and like his friend Aimé Césaire took on the struggle “to paint the drama of his country, the cause and spirit of the blacks.” He invented a highly original voice that speaks in the name of “defending human dignity” and “saluting freedom.”