José Angel Vincench(Holguín, 1973)

José Ángel Vincench Barrera is a conceptual artist who, contrary to orthodox representatives of such a trend, has always preferred to intentionally "contaminate" his artistic material with sociological, religious and political contents and purposes which, to make matters worse, are marked by the "stigma" of being local. In his works there are no abstract or generic concepts, much less formalist plays stemming from brief verbal enunciations which do not allow us to arrive at any conclusion, other than obvious or simplistic ones.

Rogación de cabeza (Feeding the Head)

This work had a previous edition in 1995-96, which was shown in London (Barbican Centre, 1999) and currently belongs to the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana. The installation is part of a series titled Socialización del Ritual (Socialization of the Ritual). It deals with the use of white cloth caps and kerchiefs by the practitioners of Santería and Ifá during a brief ritual known as Koborí, the function of which is to feed the personal deity (called Orí) that resides inside the individual's head. In this offering to Orí made to regain balance, tranquillity or relief from stress and internal conflicts, various elements are used, habitually white items (cotton, cocoa butter, efún (white clay), grated coconut meat) or fresh items, such as fruits, although in some cases the sacrifice of white doves, a red snapper or fresh fish becomes necessary. The caps cover these ingredients so that they stay protected and penetrate to the residence of Orí. Vincench distributed these caps (used by the men) and kerchiefs (used by the women) amongst different people residing in Havana, writers, artists (such as Belkis Ayón and Julio Girona), housewives, religious people (such as babalawo Enrique Santa Cruz), and each one wrote on them their desires, aspirations and concerns. The same was done simultaneously with Cubans residing in Miami, which is the city outside of Cuba with the largest Cuban population, especially following the triumph of the Revolution of 1959. Since then, there has been a tendency to misunderstanding between these groups generated by political issues. According to the artist, "the result was to bring these stands face to face, offering the possibility of reading some of the thoughts of the Cubans inside and abroad, to unite more than to separate, to remember more than to forget that they are part of Cuba’s identity" . The artist's intention is to repeat this experience every ten years "to investigate the generational thought of Cubans". Using an artistic-religious resource, this work not only links interesting sociological research carried out from the point of view of art but also proposes reconciliation and unification between Cubans located on the two shores of the Florida Straits.

Year: 2005 - 2006
Technique: 25 ritual hats of white cloth, pen and pencil handwritings, wood box, glass + 1 extra hat made by Belkis Ayón
Size: 32 x 32 x 8 cm (each box)

Theme: migration religion ritual politics