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Three-Part Exhibition Submerges You in Contemporary Cuban Art

Half a million fish hooks and underwater screaming are just a few of the highlights from 'Internal Landscapes' at the Perez Art Museum Miami.

Mikelle Street

Mikelle Street

It's the sound that draws you in. A recurring scream pulls you away from Island (Sea-scape), a largescale work by Yoan Capote, and into the galleries of Internal Landscapes, the first of a three-part exhibit interrogating the Cuban diaspora at the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Once inside, you find its source: Antonia Wright's I Scream, Therefore I Exist—a looped video of the artist screaming underwater, the sound heard by no one save the viewer.

Internal Landscapes is part one of On The Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection. In November, PAMM received a $15 million gift from Jorge M. Perez, including over 170 works from Perez's personal collection as well as $5 million in funds to acquire new works by Latin American artists.

"This first chapter of the exhibition is really dealing with the landscape in relation to the body," curatorial assistant Maritza Lacayo tells Creators. "But we also are posing these works in dialogue with our permanent collection."

Yoan Capote's Island (Sea-escape), 2010 Photo courtesy of Perez Art Museum Miami

Among the gifted pieces are works like Island (Sea-scape), made of half a million fish hooks and nails mounted on plywood. "What he was trying to do with this work was depict the horizon as a sense of longing and what could be," Lacayo explains. Given that the medium is fish hooks, the work symbolizes both the dangers of the sea and its vastness. The artwork's massive size—it spans over 26 feet—dwarfs the viewer. There is a sense of helplessness, being stranded amongst cresting waves.

The horizon plays a sensory part in I Scream, as well. While Wright swims underwater, screaming periodically, a woman only feet away from her wades into the water, unaware of her presence. The Miami-based artist's voice is not audible. The piece reads as commentary on oppression and the ignored plight of the oppressed.

Teresita Fernandez's Fire (America) Photo courtesy of Perez Art Museum Miami

Teresita Fernandez's work Fire (America) centers on rebirth. Two Manuel Pina prints from his Aguas baldias series represent the exhibit's conversation with the permanent collection. Other standout works include Tengo familia en frente, translated as "I've Got Family on the Other Side." Abel Barroso's piece pictures the horizon as a wall topped with barbed wire, separating what seems to be a city from what could be a prison. Aperture, another Capote work, pictures Cuba and Florida as metal scissors, commenting on the often painful relationship between the two. Jose Bedia's Estupor del cubanito en territorio ajeno, translated as "The Poor Bewildered Cuban on Arriving in a Strange Land," is a curious symbol, appearing both phallic and divine.

José Bedia's Estupor del cubanito en territorio ajeno. Photo courtesy of Perez Art Museum Miami

Internal Landscapes is on view at the Perez Art Museum Miami through September 1. The second chapter of On The Horizon, titled Abstracting History, opens September 22.

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