The influences of the African cultures in the arts in Matanzas.

  TO Fernando Ortiz

To Lydia Cabrera

For: María Esther Ortiz Rodríguez.

Member of the Union of Writers and Artists from Cuba.

Writer, poet, investigator.

Atty. in Right. Dipl. in Mercantile Right.


During 1999 and 2000, we have investigated the influence of the African cultures in the contemporary visual arts in Matanzas. This work is the beginning of an investigation that today knows that it is practically inexhaustible, because the county of Matanzas is characterized because it maintains a rich tradition of cultural, religious manifestations, formed by the encounter of the diverse migratory currents.

The initiate investigation intends to embrace the study of different manifestations of the African, assumed art and integrated in the process of continuous transculturación that happens in the countries of the Caribbean environment. In this initial stage, the study object has stuck to a brief presentation of the influence of the Afro-Cuban ritual arts in the environment of the contemporary visual arts in Cuba like country and in the county of Matanzas, where the practice of the Rule of Ocha or Santería, Rule Palo Monte and other, it is very active and it influences in the music, the dance, the theater, the craft and the visual arts.

The developed work demonstrates an advance in the multicultural and organic integration that happens in the transculturación: the artistic appropriation of relating symbolic, the process of visual code in the plastic work, the use of elements of the Afro-Cuban folklore, surpassing the environment of the religious sincretismo and reflecting the recognition on the part of the artist of an aesthetic environment as sustenance of the contemporary plastic work.

The sensitive influence in a way of national life where they are recognized by the individual utilitarian, handmade objects, rituals, wardrobes, habits, behavior ways and spiritual values that creates true visual complexes and they demonstrate the rich popular imagination, like it can be observed in the Afro-Cuban religious altars it is influencing continually on the creation of our painters, sculptors, ceramists, jewelers and designers. The study of the transculturación process and their influence in the plastic arts fundamentally painting and sculpture that reach bigger importance at the end of this century in Matanzas, in the works of their artists. The Afro-Cuban ritual arts maintain an alive tradition in several popular goods and they continue this way a coherent dialogue, figuracionista and singular with the artists today matanceros.


(1) Transculturación: Traffic process of a culture to other and their social repercussions of all gender. Fernando Ortiz creates the scientific term later on recognized worldwide by the anthropology. (Ortiz, 1940). In Note to the Posthumous Edition of the New Catauro of Cubanismos. Gladys Alonso, Publisher.

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