Smith Museum acquires photos from Cuban artist

Adding to its richly diverse collection, the Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) recently acquired El Muro, a series of 10 large-scale black-and-white photographic triptychs by Cuban artist Eduardo Hernández Santos. The museum will be the first in the U.S. to offer the exhibition, which has been added to its permanent collection.

On display from September 2 through November 20, the exhibition features photographs from El Muro, (“the wall”), where Santos captured the images and discussions of gay and transgendered Cubans who congregated at the wall on a nightly basis.

According to the SCMA, “each triptych includes two images of the wall itself flanking a portrait of people at El Muro. On each left-hand image, the artist has spelled out fragments from the “La isla en peso (The Island Burden)” a poem written in 1943 by Virgilio Piñera, a gay Cuban writer (1912-1979). In passionate, poignant and scathing language, the poem charts what Piñera saw as the often repressive, violent, and insular nature of Cuban culture.”

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