a conversation with Queloides curators Alejandro de la Fuente and Elio Rodríguez Valdés, moderated by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In response to the official silence surrounding racism in Cuba, the thirteen artists who participate in Queloides have insisted on the need to acknowledge and debate this social problem publicly. This is the first time in post-revolutionary Cuba that the word “racism” has appeared in the title of an exhibition. The works in the exhibit—including video, large-format painting, and installation—invoke stereotypes, poverty, satire, sexuality, violence, secrecy, and silence to portray what it is to be black in a society that officially excludes the complexity of the scarring left by racism. Queloides is a long-term cultural project in which numerous intellectuals and artists from Cuba have participated. The title is drawn from the word “keloids,” referring to pathological, wound-induced scars. Although any injury may result in keloids, many people in Cuba believe that the black skin is particularly susceptible to them. Thus the title evokes the persistence of racial stereotypes and the traumatic process of dealing with racism, discrimination, and racist violence.