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Indigenous and Afro-diasporic spiritual systems have long interested internationally acclaimed artist José Bedia, who avidly collects ritualistic and ceremonial art. Bedia has traveled extensively to research and expand his knowledge of the people and the places where this art is created.

Bedia and Carol Damian, Curator of the Kislak Center, discuss how collecting and collections enhance our world view, both historically and in the present. Examining a selection of works from the Jay I. Kislak Collection at MDC and the artist's own collection, Bedia and Damian explore the significance of these fascinating objects to our cultural history.

One of Miami’s most prominent artists, Jose Bedia was born in Havana, Cuba, and was one of the pioneering group of young artists in the groundbreaking 1981 exhibition Volumen 1, which helped spark a transformation of the Cuban cultural scene. His deep interest in indigenous American and Afro-Transatlantic cultures have led to both anthropological study and personal engagement with the religious beliefs of “La Regla Kongo” (in which he was initiated in 1983), the “Regla de Ocha,” and the Leopard Society of Abakuas. Fascinated by the African roots of American culture, Bedia has traveled widely in Africa and Latin America. His work has been exhibited around the world, including in the biennials of Havana, São Paulo, Venice, and Beijing, and is included in the collections of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Cuba; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Tate; Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Daros Collection; Institut Valencià d’Art Modern; Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Dr. Carol Damian is an art historian, former Professor of Art History in the School of Art and Art History at Florida International University, and former Director and Chief Curator of the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU. She has contributed to numerous publications and lectures frequently on Latin American and Caribbean art, and the local art scene. She is currently Curator of the Kislak Center, part of the Miami Dade College Special Collections, housed at the Freedom Tower; and of the Chapel of La Merced Colonial Collection at Corpus Christi in Miami.

Kislak Center programs are made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. They are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Miami Herald is a media sponsor of Kislak Center programming.

Miami Dade College is an equal access/ equal opportunity institution which does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin, disability, veteran's status, ethnicity, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or genetic information. To obtain additional information about the College's equal access and equal opportunity policies, procedures, and practices, please contact the College's Equity Officer: Cindy Lau Evans, Director, Office of Equal Opportunity Programs and ADA Coordinator at (305) 237-2577 (Voice) or 711 (Relay Service). 11011 SW 104 St., Room 1102-01; Miami, FL 33176.

This event is free and open to the public.

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