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Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón

February 6, 2021 - May 2, 2021

A collagraph print in mood tones of black, grey, and white. The print depicts a person with pitch black skin, no facial features besides who bright white eyes, and white scales covering their upper body, arms, and the top of their head. A necklace hands down their shoulders, and a large, circular pendant with a person, maybe some saint, hangs in the middle of their back. The figure carries a small, scaly animal, which rests its head on the figure's shoulder. The background is textured grey.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is pleased to host Nkame, a solo exhibition dedicated to the work of the late Cuban printmaker Belkis Ayón (1967-1999). During her short but fertile career, she produced an extraordinary body of work central to the history of contemporary printmaking in Cuba and abroad.

Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón presents forty-eight prints and audiovisual materials that encompass a wide range of the artist’s graphic production from 1986 until her untimely passing in 1999. Ayón mined the founding narrative of the Afro-Cuban all-male fraternal society called Abakuá Secret Society to create an independent and powerful visual iconography. She is highly regarded for her signature technique of collagraphy, a printing process in which a variety of materials are collaged onto a cardboard matrix and run through a press. Her deliberately austere palette of subtle black, white, and gray adds drama and mystery to her works. By joining multiple printed sheets she made large-scale works which are all included in the exhibition.

Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón is curated by Cristina Vives and organized by the Belkis Ayón Estate, Havana, Cuba, with the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Exhibition Tour Management by Landau Traveling Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA. The exhibition premiered in the United States in 2016, and in 2017, ArtNews magazine named it one of the top ten exhibitions in the world. Behind the Veil of a Myth, a 2018 publication written by Cristina Vives and edited by the Estate of Belkis Ayón, the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, and Estudio Figueroa-Vives in Havana, accompanies the exhibition.

Image: Belkis Ayón, Sin título (Sikán con chivo) [Untitled (Sikán with Goat)], 1993, collagraph. Courtesy of the Estate of Belkis Ayón





Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
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BIPOC artist(s), Women curated
Image Alt Text for Screen Readers
Vertical print in black, grey and white colors. The print features a portrait of a figure with their back towards the viewer, but with their head turned towards the viewer. Only their eyes are visible on their face. The eyes are white with black pupils. Their head and upper body is covered in white scale similar to fish scales. On their right shoulder, a grey goat is resting their head. The goat's eyes are completely black. Hanging from the figure's neck, down their back is a necklace with what appears to be a round icon of Christ holding a sheep.
Event Type
Museum, Visual Art
Pandemic Info
Online Only


Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
1430 Johnson Lane
Eugene, OR 97401 United States
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