I look forward to digging up my handwritten notes from my meeting with Veronica in order to see if there’s something more to include. I’m fairly certain that I’m not going to get a better perspective than what I have reported. However, it is not hard for other researchers to find her in Havana. She’s in ETESCA’s phonebook and has been for quite some time. I think she would like to hear from more people.
What more I can reveal is what that she expressly wanted to share with others. Here is a selection of further photographs that she highlighted in our exchange:
Her photo collection is compelling in a number of ways. I’d note that throughout there are a number of ways in which African diasporic identities are referenced. Also, the images show that she very much did travel all around Cuba and in Europe performing. Perhaps most importantly, Veronica Garcia was a star of the show.
Images reproduced here with permission from Veronica Garcia.
April was a whirlwind of activity! Among the highlights, James Madison University’s Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art hosted Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and I in conversation about her work.
We spoke for nearly an hour and a half, including wonderful audience questions and responses. During the conversation, Campos-Pons discussed the above work, Island Treasures, in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum. I brought the work up for discussion because I had been interested in linking the materials featured in the work to Afro-Atlantic religious arts practices. Often sticks are bundled together as an offering, or a means of contemplating changes in one’s world. However, Campos-Pons pointed to even greater meanings. She had collected these sticks on the island of Gorée, in Senegal, just outside of the House of Slaves, a holding point for captive Africans being sent to the Americas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Above: “Cutting bananas,” Lithograph printed by the Diamond News Co. of Havana, c. 1899-1907.
As noted in a prior post on this website, since April 2015, I have been a contributing editor to the online scholarly publication cubacounterpoints.com. Below are links to my essays published there so far. I’d like to thank the amazing Ariana Hernandez Reguant, our Executive Editor. Also, my co-editor on SOUVENIRS, María Antonia Cabrera Arús, has been fabulous to collaborate with.
Online essays by Kris Juncker at Cuba Counterpoints:
María Antonia Cabrera Arús and I are editing a feature, ‘SOUVENIRS,’ for the new online journal Cuba Counterpoints.
In large part, I suspect that many of the materials that I had been planning for this website will now be part of this much larger forum. I will continue to provide updates here from time to time, however.
I am especially happy to have this opportunity to collaborate with María because of the interests that we share in common. Please check out her blog: http://cubamaterial.com. María is a trained sociologist. I come from a background of predominantly art history with a fair amount of training in anthropology. The entries will be short, but I imagine that, over time, this growing collection of essays will render even larger conversations about material culture and interdisciplinary approaches.
I invite fellow scholars to submit images of Cuban or Cuban diasporic objects and short essays (no more than 1000 words) to ‘SOUVENIRS.’