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Reconsidering Identity in Art

Installation of Lydia Cabrera and Édouard Glissant: Trembling Thinking at Americas Society, on view October 9, 2018 – January 12, 2019. Photos: Arturo Sánchez.

November 03, 2018

On March 25, 1941, Wifredo Lam (1902–1982) sailed from Marseille, France, to Cuba, where he was born. He was the child of a mixed marriage: his mother was Ana Serafina Castilla, whose legacy was Spanish and African, and his father was Enrique Yam-Lam, who was Cantonese.

He was returning to a country that he had left nearly 20 years earlier, in 1923, when he sailed to Spain. During his journey home, he and his fellow passengers and friends, such as Andre Breton, were detained in Martinique because the Vichy government regarded them as traitors.

It was during this period of detention that he and Breton met the Martinican poet Aime Cesaire, who had written Cahier d’un retour au pays natal (Notebook of a Return to the Native Land) in 1938...

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