Alexis Esquivel, 'Smile, You Won!'

Illustration for article titled Queloides: Artists Explore Racism in Cuba
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Esquivel's artistic strategy is to delegitimize power. Unafraid to provoke, he explores racial themes through the rebellious "logic of the escaped slave."

Captions adapted by Brandee Sanders from the book Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art. Learn more about "Queloides" on The Root.

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Alexis Esquivel, 'Citizen of the Future'

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Esquivel uses painting, installation, performance and video art to examine and join the increasingly urgent debate about the relationships between power and race in society.

Elio Rodríguez Valdés, Black Ceiba

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Through posters, as well as sculptures that can take over whole buildings (like the one shown here), Rodríguez Valdés addresses racial and sexual identity within Cuban culture. He is the co-curator of "Queloides."

Pedro Alvarez, 'In the Reign of Freedom and Necessity'

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The late Alvarez captured the essence of Cuba's ever changing sociopolitical landscape through painting and collage.

Manuel Arenas, 'Colored Identity'

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Inspired by the complexities of racial identity in Cuba, Arenas uses photography to expose the prejudice and discrimination that many Cubans endure.

Roberto Diago, 'Ascending City'

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Diago uses an array of materials — including wood, metal and textiles — to illustrate the conditions of the Afro-Cuban community and to illuminate social issues that have been left in the dark by the Cuban state.

Armando Mariño, 'The Anxiety of Influences'

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Mariño paints in a neo-surrealist style, juxtaposing often violent historical and contemporary images.

Armando Mariño, 'Help Me'

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In his paintings, Mariño dissects the influences behind Cuban artistry and reveals a sense manipulation that many Cubans encounter.

Armando Mariño, 'The Raft'

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Mariño's paintings, installations and sculptures take you on a journey inside the mind of a suppressed Afro-Cuban man.

René Peña, 'Untitled'

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One of Cuba's best-known photographers, Peña frequently uses his own face and body to explore issues of race, blackness and the ambiguities of sexual identities and labels.

Douglas Pérez, 'Ecosystem'

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Pérez creates narrative paintings that portray the traditional and contemporary divide between blacks and whites in Cuba.

Marta María Pérez Bravo, 'They Are Not Mine' series

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The concept behind Pérez Bravo's work is the fusion of different identities. In this series, she superimposes early-20th-century images of Afro-Cuban women who were convicted of crimes over her own portrait.

Marta María Pérez Bravo, 'They Are Not Mine' series

Illustration for article titled Queloides: Artists Explore Racism in Cuba
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Pérez Bravo is considered to be the foremost female photographer in Cuba.

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