"Masterpieces": the genius of Wifredo Lam in four decades

"Masterpieces": the genius of Wifredo Lam in four decades

Until October 31, Gary Nader Art Center presents an impressive set of works by Cuban painter Wifredo Lam

MIAMI.- “When I was little, I lived surrounded by my little jungle,” once said the Cuban painter Wifredo Lam, born in Sagua La Grande, in the center of the island, an area of ​​sugar mills and exuberant nature. Flora and fauna, recurring in his work, stand out in the exhibition “Masterpieces”, at Gary Nader Art Center, Miami, until October 31.
Thanks to his African, Spanish and Chinese roots, in addition to his original way of approaching painting from surrealism and cubism with Afro-Caribbean touches, the artist has been the epitome of miscegenation in Cuban art. Wifredo Lam assured that surrealism allowed him to find himself and also free himself from "cultural alienations."
On previous occasions the gallerist has presented exhibitions dedicated to the Cuban painter, such as "Wifredo Lam: A Tribute" in 1993, "Wifredo Lam Homage 100 Birthday" in 2002, "Wifredo Lam: The Imagination at Work" in 2021.
Wifredo Lam in four decades

The exhibition has 18 works that allow a journey through four decades of visual creation. This is precisely the greatest success of the exhibition, since the curatorship aims at an extensive tour of the painter's creative life, with a broad look at his aesthetic path.

We see in the work of the 1940s an awakening in Lam's style, with his experiments after coming into contact with surrealism and cubism in Europe, and combining it with his knowledge of Afro-Caribbean symbology. The works “Le Guerrier, I [The Warrior]”, from 1947, and “Figure [Femme Cheval]”, from 1949, stand out in the exhibition.

In the pieces of the following decade the maturity of the artist is perceived, as well as the international recognition of his work. Highlights include "Ídoli", from 1955, "Two People and a Bird", from 1957, and "La Veille", from 1959.

Between the 60s and 70s Lam continued to explore other ways of creating and leaned more towards the abstract, without losing its essence and powerful symbolic base. We see pieces like "Nous te voyons", from 1964, and "Horizon Chauds", from 1968.
The way of the teacher

Wifredo Lam (Wifredo Óscar de la Concepción Lam y Castilla) was born in Sagua La Grande on December 8, 1902, with the establishment of the Republic of Cuba, a decisive year for the island due to the proclamation of independence from Spain and the United States. .

His mother, Ana Serafina Castilla, was a mulatto from Sancti Spíritus, a mixture of Spanish and African; and his father, Enrique Lam-Yam, was a Chinese from Canton. The artist's name at birth was Wilfredo, with an L, but in the 1920s after an administrative error his name was changed to Wifredo, something that seemed peculiar to him and that he assumed ever since.

One event remained engraved in his memory: on a night in 1907, Lam experienced a deep impression when observing the shadow created by the flapping of a bat's wings on the walls of his room.

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