José Bedia talks about his workSaturday, February 9, 2019
My name is José Bedia. This piece is called Mamá Kalunga. I made this piece after I had moved away from Cuba, specifically to Mexico. It has to do with Afro-Cuban traditions; I’m interested in religions, popular cultures, especially, in this case, Bantu culture in Cuba. Mamá Kalunga is the dividing line of the horizon that, like grass, separates the universe into the upper world and the lower world, in this case, the underworld. The painting depicts the underworld, with a skull that could be an ancestor’s skull at the bottom, and there are two mermaids carrying a boat, in this case a shipwreck, over the waves, the waves of the sea, toward the bottom. The painting has a semi-circular form; at the time I wasn’t interested in giving my paintings conventional, Western, rectangular shapes, but for the paintings to have a form that came from the canvas’s essential idea. In this case it’s the ocean waves and the line of the horizon in the distance, and I tried to keep to this kind of very specific format that had to do with a reverberation of the sea or the intrinsic force of nature exercising itself, in this case, on this boat, which could be a shipwreck or a figure; some people lost at sea.
Acrylic and wood on canvas
170 x 300 x 10.2 cm (66 7/8 x 118 1/8 x 4 in.)