José Bedia, Utenu Kazaye, 2007. Acrylic on canvas. 180 x 454 cm. Collection of Roger and Mariela Tovar.

From May 24 to September 2, 2012 – Miami Art Museum

A major career retrospective of the work of José Bedia at Miami Art Museum (MAM) explores the influence of indigenous cultures and religions from Cuba, North and South America, and Africa on the artist’s work over the last three decades. Transcultural Pilgrim: Three Decades of Work by José Bedia, featuring 35 artworks including large-scale figurative paintings, installations and drawings, highlights the layering of spiritual, social and historical constructs in Bedia’s body of work—all of which are retold through a highly personal lens. On view from Thursday, May 24 through Sunday, September 2, 2012, the exhibition is the first to comprehensively examine the rich iconography of Bedia’s artistic output. Transcultural Pilgrim is among the last four exhibitions MAM will show in its current building, before making the transition to its new Herzog & de Meuron facility in Museum Park in fall 2013.

“The incredible melding of cultural ideas and symbols in José Bedia’s work has a special resonance in the distinctly diverse Miami community, where so many nationalities, races, heritages and religions come together and Bedia, himself, lives,” said Thom Collins, director of Miami Art Museum. “Transcultural Pilgrim reveals the unexpected parallels between the cultural practices of disparate communities from around the globe and, in doing so, creates new parallels to contemporary life—exemplifying MAM’s dedication to presenting artists and works to which our audiences will have strong connections.”

José Bedia, Mama quiere menga, menga de su nkombo (Mama Wants Blood, Blood of His Bull), 1988. Acrylic on canvas. 139.7 x 200 cm. Collection of Diane and Robert Moss, Miami, Florida.

dia is an acclaimed member of Cuba’s “Generation of the ‘80s,” a group of pioneering young artists who incorporated Cuban vernacular and spiritual references into their work and experimented with eclectic visual forms. Throughout the last 30 years, Bedia has traveled to the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, North American Plains, Amazonian rain forest, Dominican countryside, and the Central African savanna, among numerous other locations, in search of artistic and spiritual peers and to participate in what he defines as “diverse spiritual worlds.” The featured works in Transcultural Pilgrim—with their sacred and autobiographical references, strong graphic quality, and philosophical complexity—represent the traces of Bedia’s artistic and spiritual journeys, which have shaped his artistic practice. The exhibition also includes select objects from Bedia’s personal collection, housed in his Miami home, which have inspired the forms and content of his work.

 Miami Art Museum