Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art on View at the Mattress Factory

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PITTSBURGH, PA.- After decades of official silence, discussions of “race” and racism have become prominent in contemporary Cuba. Since the early 1990s, numerous cultural actors—musicians, writers, painters, performers, and academics—began to do something that was previously unthinkable: they began to denounce the persistence of racial discrimination in Cuban socialist society. These intellectuals have articulated the concerns of the Afro-Cuban youth, a population group that came to age in the early 1990s, precisely at the time that the socialist welfare state began to unravel. They have constituted a loose Afro-Cuban cultural movement that is using cultural spaces to raise uncomfortable questions about the persistence of racism in Cuba. Culture has become the space where a democratic future can be imagined and debated within the island. Queloides: