Academic journal article Cuban Studies

On the Cover

Academic journal article Cuban Studies

On the Cover

Article excerpt

Ángel Delgado, Límite continuo XII. 2009. Digital print, wax pencil and dry pastel on canvas, 39" × 78".

Born in Havana in 1965, Ángel Delgado is a multifaceted and multidisciplinary artist who, since the early 1990s, has created a vast body of work around one central theme: freedom. Angelito, as he is familiarly known among colleagues and friends, will be forever remembered in the history of Cuban art for his imprisonment in the infamous Combinado del Este prison in 1990, an action that showcased the hopelessly repressive nature of the Cuban regime. In Hope Is the Last Thing That We Are Losing, Angelito staged a performance in which he defecated on a copy of Granma, the official daily of the Cuban Communist Party, while surrounded by a circle of little prints with green bones. Many Cubans at the time actually used Granma in lieu of nonexistent toilet paper and joked that this was the newspaper's main purpose, but state security officials failed to appreciate the multiple layers of Angelito's artistic intervention and sent him to jail for six months.

Prison would provide themes, visual cues, and an appreciation for certain media and materials that stayed with him ever since. It was in prison that Angelito began to sculpt in soap, a material that was available and that has remained important in his creative work. He also began to draw on handkerchiefs, another medium he continues to use. "Prison was like a school to me," Delgado has stated. "The Elementary School of Plastic Art, [the Academy of] San Alejandro, the Instituto Superior de Arte, and prison. Materials were those appropriate to my extreme circumstances."

From this experience, the artist also drew a catalog of personal reflections and visual references that have come to dominate most of his work. He has become something of a complement to Michel Foucault's studies on punishment, knowledge, and surveillance. …

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