Exhibition of art without borders comes to Miami’s Dade College

Felix Gonzalez Torres, Untitled (Lover Boys) (1991) © Oriol Tarridas

The Carribean poet and cultural theorist Édouard Glissant claimed his right to opacity at a 1969 congress for the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “Theres a basic injustice in the worldwide spread of the transparency and the projection of Western thought,” he told the audience. “Why must we evaluate people on the scale of the transparency of ideas proposed by the West?”

That question underwrites much of Where the Oceans Meet, an exhibition at Miami Dade College Museum of Art and Design that analyses the follies of border mentality. The show lists Glissant as a major influence alongside Lydia Cabrera, the Cuban painter and ethnographic scholar who became a stalwart of the Afrocubanismo movement.

“The beauty of this exhibition is its curation of thinkers,” says the museums executive director and chief curator Rina Carvajal, who organised the show together with Hans Ulrich Obrist from Londons Serpentine Galleries, Gabriela Rangel from the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, and the artist Asad Raza. “Artists are speaking about immigration policies, memory, identity, displacement, war, capitalism and religion. Its about finding a way to connect with other people while respecting our differences,” Carvajal says.

The show is dedicated to the renowned Nigeran curator Okwui Enwezor, who died of cancer during the shows preparations in March. “He was a pioneer of this notion of crossing borders and connecting continents,” Carvajal says. “The dedication felt important for all of us who worked with Okwui over the years.”

Accordingly, it casts a wide net around the world, gathering artists as disparate as Tania Bruguera and Walid Raad, Félix González-Torres and Yto Barrada, Glenn Ligon and Jack Whitten. Together, they celebrate the intellectual curiosity and political gumption of Cabrera, who disrupted racial barriers by elevating Afro-Cuban culture without prejudice for social and economic class hierarchies.

Lani Maestros 500-page A Book Thick of Ocean (1993) touches on the artists move from the Phillipines to Canada as a political exile Courtesy of the artist

A highlight is Lani Maestros A Book Thick of Ocean (1993)—a tribute to the Filipino-Canadian artists “Nanay” or “heart mother”. Within its 500 pages are notions of repetition and longing—potent themes for Maestro, who went into political exile in Canada after demonstrating against the Philippiness repressive regime in 1982. Consequently, the exhibition aims to push ideological boundaries between different modes of personhood and cultural placemaking.

“Global exchanges have always been so important,” Asad Raza told the Miami New Times. “Theyre not new, and the neo-nationalist ideas Read More – Source