October 21, 2019

‘Connections’ Exhibit Explores Cuban Life Through Recycled Objects

ATLANTA (October 21, 2019) — Through metal sculptures made from chunks of old cars and mixed media collages on cardboard featuring pieces of deteriorated walls, Afro-Cuban artist Wilay Mendéz Páez creates absorbing artwork that explores life in his hometown of Havana.

Mendéz Páez has brought that journey to the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library with the installation of his “Connections” exhibit, which will be on view in the Library’s Quiet Study Suite from Oct. 24, 2019 until July 31, 2020.

The sculptures present movable elements which visually refer to the ways in which citizens occupy urban space: as a whole in constant movement. The collages present a connection to the tradition of street art, coexisting with text as one would see graffiti in the street.

“Wilay Méndez Páez creates a new map of the city, and with his sculptures he deconstructs and reshapes present Cuban experiences with life, current challenges, and daily questions,” said exhibit curator Anastasia Valecce, Ph.D., Spelman College Associate Professor of Hispanic Language, Literature, and Cultures. “Connections capture the nuances of the geography he inhabits and offers a refreshing visual dialogue that escapes any romanticized cliché of a mythological past or an imagined utopic future. Instead, he invites his spectators to be fully immersed in and connected with the present of the city that, as he says, ‘he was destined to live in.’”

The Library will host several programs related to this exhibit, including an opening reception on Oct. 24, 2019 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. where Mendéz Páez and Valecce will give an intimate look at the exhibit and speak to event goers about the inspiration behind it. Other events, such as artist and curator talks and special tours, will be held throughout the year. 


About the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library serves the nation’s largest consortium of historically black colleges and universities, which includes Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College. As the intellectual center of this prestigious academic community, the Library’s mission is to provide the highest level of information resources and services in support of student and faculty success and the cultural preservation of the Atlanta University Center. In addition to the aesthetic benefits of this state-of-the-art facility, the Library has evolved into a model repository of information resources and a front-runner in the innovative delivery of digital resources. The AUC Woodruff Library is the winner of the 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the university category from the Association of Collegiate and Research Libraries (ACRL). Library CEO Loretta Parham was named the ACRL 2017 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. Additional information about the AUC Woodruff Library is available at www.auctr.edu.