Belkis Ayon Manso
Belkis Ayón Manso (January 23, 1967 – September 11, 1999) was a Cuban artist and lithographer. Her work was based on Afro-Cuban religion, combining the myth of Sikan and the traditions of the Abakuá, a men’s secret society. She was considered a pioneer in the printmaking world as her prints and collographs feature dark silhouettes and ghostly-white figures. Manso uses haunting imagery such as snakes, goats, and empty almond-shaped eyes that stare out at the viewer. The Cuban printmaker mysteriously took her own life in 1999.
Belkis Ayón Manso studied at San Alejandro Academy in Havana, Cuba (1986) and received her Bachelor’s degree in Engraving from the Higher Institute of Art (ISA), Havana, Cuba (1991). She held residencies at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; the Bronski Center, Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia, PA; and Benson Hall Gallery, Rhode Island School of Design, RI. Manso has been exhibited internationally in several museums and galleries. She has also participated in several Biennials such as the Havana Biennal, Bharat Bhavan International Biennial of Prints, India; The First International Print Biennial, Maastricht, Holland, and the San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Engraving, among others. The artist’s work is included in several collections worldwide, such as the National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana Cuba; the National Museum of Engraving, Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal, Holland; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, among others. She most recently had her first U.S. museum retrospective of her work at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (2016).
Havana, January 23, 1967 – Havana, September 11, 1999. Printmaker, draftsman, curator, professor.
San Alejandro Academy, Havana, Cuba
Bachelor’s degree in Engraving, Higher Institute of Art (ISA), Havana, Cuba
SOLO & TWO PERSON EXHIBITIONS
Belkis Ayón: Collographies, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO
Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, TX
Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ
Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY
Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Rites. Photographies de René Peña; collographies de Belkis Ayón, Bourbon-Lally Gallery, Pétionville, Haiti
Belkis Ayón & Ángel Ramírez. The New Wave of Cuban Art – II, Gallery gan, Tokyo, Japan
Belkis Ayón / Elsa Mora. Recent Work, Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY Bernardo Marqués / Belkis Ayón, Havana Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland Desasosiego / Restlessness, Couturier Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Grand Pas de Trois, Sixth Havana Biennial, Zulueta corner with Refugio, Havana Ángel Ramírez & Belkis Ayón. The New Wave of Cuban Art – I, gan Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Two Contemporary Cuban Artists: Belkis Ayón and Nelson Domínguez, Hofstra Museum, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, NY
Belkis Ayón, Cuban Artist, Bourbon-Lally Gallery, Pétionville, Haiti
Unterstütze mich, halte mich hoch im Schmerz. Belkis Ayón (Support Me, Hold Me in My Pain. Belkis Ayón), St Barbara Church, Breinig / Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen, Germany
Siempre vuelvo. Exposición personal Belkis Ayón (I Always Return. Belkis Ayón Solo Show), grau Gallery, Development Center for the Visual Arts, Cienfuegos, Cuba / Vicenza, Italy
Belkis Ayón and Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal, Cheiros [Gallery], Colonnese Valeri Palace
Siempre vuelvo (I Always Return), Colorenero Gallery, May 17-June 11, Milan, Italy
Siempre vuelvo. Grabados de Belkis Ayón (I Always Return. Prints by Belkis Ayón), Provincial Center of Visual Arts and Design, Havana
Evidencias de vindicación (Belkis Ayón, Isary Paulet, Ibrahim Miranda) (Signs of Vindication: Belkis Ayón, Isary Paulet, Ibrahim Miranda), 23 y 12 Art Center, Havana
Grabados (Prints), saw Gallery, Ottawa, Canada
Contemporary Cuban Art: Belkis Ayón and Eduardo Yáñez, L’Annonciation Station Exhibition Center, L’Annonciation, Quebec, Canada
Recuerdo sagrado (Sacred Memory), Alamar Art Center, Havana / Art Center, Guantánamo, Cuba
Sikan Kien, la poderosa y sabia (Sikan Kien, The Powerful and Wise), Galería iii Congreso, Ranchuelo, Villa Clara, Cuba
Sikán Kien, Leopoldo Romañach Art Gallery, Caibarién, Villa Clara, Cuba
Propuesta a los veinte años (Belkis Ayón e Isary Paulet) (Proposal at the Age of Twenty: Belkis Ayón and Isary Paulet), Servando Cabrera Art Gallery, Havana
Faz escuro mas eu canto (Though It’s Dark, Still I Sing), 34th São Paulo Bienal, São Paulo, Brazil
Tesoro, The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU, Miami, FL
We don’t need another hero, 10th Berlin Biennial, Berlin, Germany
Where the Oceans Meet, Museum of Art and Design, Miami Dade College, Miami, FL
The Figure in Latin American Art, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
Art x Cuba, Ludwig Forum für International Kunst, Aachen, Germany
Contemporary Art from Cuba: Irony and Survival on the Utopian Island, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, January-March, 2001, Kansas / University of South Florida, Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa Bay, FL
Contemporary Art from Cuba: Irony and Survival on the Utopian Island, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan / Museum for Latin American Art, Long Beach, California / University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, California
La Huella Múltiple (The Multiple Trace), Center for Conservation, Restoration and Museology (cencrem) / Development Center for the Visual Arts, Havana The 4th Kochi International Triennial Exhibition of Prints, Kochi, Japan Afro-Cuban Contemporary Graphic Art. Roca, Miranda, Torres and Manso, The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
¡Cuba Presente! Trabajando pa’l inglé (Cuba Present! Working for Nothing), Concourse Gallery, Foyer Gallery, Ground Floor and Stalls, Barbican Centre, London, Great Britain Rituales (Rituals), Contemporary Hall, Casa de las Américas
Art Paris International Fair of Modern and Contemporary Art, Louvre Carrousel, Paris, France Kunst-Welten im Dialog / Art Worlds in Dialogue, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany Arte cubano, más allá del papel (Cuban Art Beyond Paper), Caja de Madrid Foundation, Conde Duque Cultural Center, Pedro de Ribera and Juan de Villanueva Halls, Madrid, Spain
Contemporary Art from Cuba: Irony and Survival on the Utopian Island, Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA / Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan / Austin Museum of Art, Austin, TX
Comment peut-on etre cubain? Peinture, Installation, Photographie (How is One a Cuban? Painting, Installation Art, Photography), Maison de L’Amerique Latine, Paris / Couvent des Minimes, Perpignan, France
12th San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Engraving, Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, West and Central Halls of the Naval Dockyard, San Juan, Puerto Rico Arte ba 98. Seventh Fair of Art Galleries, General San Martin Municipal Exhibition Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cuban Contemporay Art Exhibition, Urasoe Museum, Okinawa / Hillside Forum Daikanyama, Tokyo / Iwaki City Cultural Hall, Iwaki, Japan Contemporary Art from Cuba: Irony and Survival on the Utopian Island, Arizona State Art Museum, Nelson Fine Art Center and Matthews Center, Tempe, Arizona
Kongo Criollo: Artists in Crossroads, Boricua Gallery Workshop, Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, October 23-November 21, New York, United States Estampa’ 98. Salón Internacional del Grabado y Ediciones de Arte Contemporáneo (International Exhibition of Engraving and Contemporary Art Editions), Exhibition Centre in the Madrid Summer Residence, November, Madrid, Spain
Women Beyond Borders, Wifredo Lam Center, La Havana, Cuba
arco ‘97. International Fair of Contemporary Art, Juan Carlos I Exhibition Center, Habana Gallery, Pavilion 5, Madrid, Spain Pervasive Referents. Belkis Ayón, Attila Richard Lukacs, Elsa María Mora, Manuel Ocampo, Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
Unmapping the Earth. Speed. Hybrid. Power. Becoming, ‘97 Kwangju Biennale, Art Museum, Kwangju, Republic of Korea
Policromía de lo negro. Arte cubano contemporáneo (Polychromy of Black: Contemporary Cuban Art), Quintana Monterde Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico
Encuentro de Grabado ’97 (Symposium of Engraving ’97), Provincial Center of Visual Arts and Design, Havana
Hoy como ayer. La Huella Múltiple (Today Like Yesterday. The Multiple Trace), Development Center for the Visual Arts, Havana
Joven Plástica Cubana. Mundo soñado (Young Cuban Art. Dream World), Stable Pavilion of the House of America, Madrid, Spain Zonder Woorden / Van Reekum Museum, Apeldoorn, Holland
Art of the Moment: Latin American Art Symposium, Antonio Palácio Neto Pavilion, Mons. Bruno Nardini Municipal Park, Valinhos, Brazil
20th-century Cuba: Modernity and Syncretism, Atlantic Center of Modern Art, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands / La Caixa Cultural Center, Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands / Art Center, Santa Monica, Barcelona, Spain Grafische Werke und Skulpturen aus Kuba (Graphic Works and Sculptures from Cuba), Leuengasse Museum, Zurich, Switzerland
The Matrix in Bloom. Exhibition of Contemporary Cuban Graphic Art, Arts Faculty Exhibition Hall, University of Antioquia, Colombia
Women Beyond Borders, ICC Contemporary Gallery, Jerusalem, Israel / Kunstlerhaus, Graz, Austria
Women Beyond Borders, Wifredo Lam Center, La Havana, Cuba / Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA
Las formas de la tierra (The Shapes of the Earth), Buades Gallery, Madrid, Spain Kunst aus Kuba. Werke auf Papier und Leinwand (Art from Cuba: Works on Paper and Canvas), Bavaria Museum, Zurich, Switzerland
Una de cada clase (One of Each Kind), Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, National Center for Restoration, Cuba Conservation and Museology (cencrem), Havana
International Contemporary Art Exhibition of Non-aligned Countries, National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
Kuba Kunst Heute (Cuban Art Today), Grafiksammlung Schreiner, Stadtgalerie Bamberg, Villa Dessauer, Bamberg, Germany
Hecho en Cuba (Made in Cuba), Luis Miró Hall, Ricardo Palma Cultural Center, Lima, Peru
Arte del momento II(Cuba-Mexico-Brazil) (Art of the Moment II), Espuela de Plata Gallery, Development Center for the Visual Arts, Havana
Mistica cubana: arte dell’ultima generazione (Cuban Mysticism. Art by the Latest Generation), with Luis Gómez and Ibrahim Miranda, Openspace, Palazzo dell’Arengario, / Spacio Vigentina, Milan, Italy
11th Engraving Exhibition of the City of Curitiba, Venue of the Curitiba Cultural Foundation, Curitiba, Brazil First Exhibition of Contemporary Cuban Art, National Museum of Fine Arts, November, Havana Estampa Edición 95, Salón Internacional del Grabado y Ediciones de Arte Contemporáneo (International Exhibition of Engraving and Contemporary Art Editions), Upper Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Madrid, Spain 1er. Salón de Arte Cubano Contemporáneo, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, Cuba / Warehouse Gallery, Lee, MA / Alex Rosenberg Fine Art, New York, NY
La Jeune Peinture Cubaine / Jeunes Plasticiens Cubains (Young Cuban Painting / Young Cuban Artists), Schoelcher Library and House of Culture of Lamentin, Fort de France, Martinique
Arte do momento, Gessy Lever Social Center, Valinhos, Brazil Cuba. Arte del momento (Cuba. Art of the Moment), Latin American Gallery, Casa de las Américas, Havana
Vindicación del grabado (Signs of Vindication), La Acacia Gallery, Havana Arte cubano de hoy / Art cubain actuel (Cuban Art Today), uqam Gallery, University of Quebec, Montreal, Judith-Jasmin Pavilion, Montreal, Canada
Una brecha entre el cielo y la tierra (A Gap between Heaven and Earth) Fifth Havana Biennial, Provincial Center of Visual Arts and Design, Havana
Cuban Art. The Last Sixty Years, Pan-American Art Gallery, Dallas, TX
Premio La Joven Estampa (The Young Print Prize), Haydee Santamaría Gallery, Casa de las Américas, Havana 11e Internationale Grafiek Biennale / The First International Print Biennial, Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre (mecc), Maastricht, Holland
xlv Biennale di Venezia, Punti Cardinali dell’ Arte, Italian-Latin American Institute, Venice, Italy Empassant de Collectie, Van Reekum Museum, Apeldoorn, Holland Symposium of Engraving ’93. Contest Exhibition, Provincial Center of Visual Arts and Design, Havana
Con sus propias manos. Pintura, dibujo, grabado (With Their Own Hands. Painting, Drawing, Engraving), Print Gallery, Experimental Graphics Workshop of Havana, Havana
Cinco mujeres creadoras (Five Female Creators), Palacio del Segundo Cabo, Havana The Seventh International Print Triennial. Graphica Creativa 93, Alvar Aalto Museum, Museum of Central Finland, Jyväskylä, Finland
Silk Screen Prints from Taller de Serigrafía R. Portocarrero, La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley, CA
Von dort aus: Kuba (From There: Cuba), Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen, Germany
África en América (Africa in America), Casa de las Artes, Vigo, Spain La ronda cubana (The Cuban Round), Van Reekum Museum, Apeldoorn, Holland
Tenth Print Exhibition of the City of Curitiba: Afro-America, A Spiritual Contribution, Romário Martins House, Curitiba, Brazil Jóvenes grabadores (Young Printmakers), Provincial Center of Visual Arts and Design, Havana
20 plásticos cubanos (20 Cuban Artists), University Artistic Center, Almacén de las Artes Gallery, Cuyo National University, Mendoza, Argentina
The 17th International Independent Exhibition of Prints in Kanagawa-92, Kanagawa Prefectural Gallery, Kanagawa, Japan Art Festival, Shanghai, China
Seventh Triennale India 1991, Lalit Kala Gallery/Rabindra Bhavan/Bahawalpur House Complex, New Delhi, India
Desafío a la colonización (Challenge to Colonization), Fourth Havana Biennial, National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana
Grabado contemporáneo cubano (Contemporary Cuban Engraving), Fourth Havana Biennial, Colonial Art Museum, Havana The Second Bharat Bhavan International Biennial of Prints, Roopankar Museum of Fine Arts, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopa, India
Intergrafik ‘90, Ninth International Graphics Triennial, Exhibition Center at the Berlin Television Tower, Berlin, Germany
Sixth International Biennial Exhibition of Portraits, Drawings and Graphics ‘90 Tuzla, Tuzla International Portrait Gallery, Tuzla, Yugoslavia
Premio La Joven Estampa (The Young Print Prize), Haydee Santamaría Gallery, Casa de las Américas, Havana
The 16th International Independante Exhibition of Prints in Kanagawa’90, Kanagawa Prefectural Gallery, Kanagawa, Japan
Jóvenes grabadores cubanos (Young Cuban Engravers), João Pessoa Contemporary Art Group, Paraiba / Assis Catebriant Museum, Campina Grande / Federal University Gallery, Río Grande del Norte / Evasión Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil Third International Engraving Exhibition, New Delhi, India
Tributo (Tribute), in association with the Third Havana Biennial, Alamar Art Gallery, Havana
The 15th International Independent Exhibition of Prints, Kanagawa Prefectural Gallery, Kanagawa, Japan
Malerei und Grafik aus Kuba, Kunsthalle Rostock, Rostock, Germany Arte Cubano en Boston (Cuban Art in Boston), Massachusetts College of Art, Administration Building, Boston, MA
Third Exhibition of Prize Winners, National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana
Primera muestra de gráfica cubana en Guadalajara (First Exhibition of Cuban Graphics in Guadalajara), Cabañas Cultural Institute, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Eighth San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Engraving, Naval Dockyard, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Second Latin American Graphic Arts Biennial at mocha, Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, New York, NY
Premio La Joven Estampa (The Young Print Prize), Haydee Santamaría Gallery, Casa de las Américas, Havana
Engraving ’87 Meeting, National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana
Seventh San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Engraving, Naval Dockyard, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Expo / Grabados Escuela San Alejandro. Estudiantes de 1ro y 2do años de Grabado (Expo / Engravings) San Alejandro School. First and second year students of Engraving), San Alejandro Academy, Havana
“On show at last: the myths and mysteries of Belkis Ayón, a giant of Cuban art”, November 20, 2021.
“TEN EXCITING EXHIBITIONS OPENING AROUND THE WORLD IN SEPTEMBER”, Art in America, August 31, 2021.
“São Paulo Bienal Announces Artist List”, Art Forum, May 27, 2021.
Gaskin, Sam. “Dub Legend Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry Joins Bienal de São Paulo”, Ocula, May 27, 2021.
Greenberger, Alex. “Artist List Revealed for Bienal de São Paulo Focused on Art in Dark Times”, ArtNews, May 27, 2021.
Sutton, Benjamin. “What Sold at Art Basel in Miami Beach”, Artsy, December 9, 2019.
“Price Check! Here’s What Sold—and for How Much—at Art Basel in Miami Beach 2019”, Artnet News, December 9, 2019
“David Castillo Gallery to present works by stellar group of artists at Art Basel Miami Beach”, Artdaily.org, November 2018.
Glentzer, Molly. “Art Daybook: Belkis Ayon’s Cuban perspective”, Houston Chronicle, June 20, 2018.
Jayawardane, M Neelika. “Art does not need another hero”, Al Jazeera, June 18, 2018.
Perlson, Hili. “5 Artists You Must Not Miss at the 10th Berlin Biennale”, Artnet News, June 11, 2018.
Brown, Kate. “Here’s the Full List of Participating Artists for the 10th Berlin Biennale” Artnet News, April 25, 2018.
Garcia, Sandra E. “Overlooked No More: Belkis Ayon, a Cuban Printmaker Inspired by a Secret Male Society”, The New York Times, March 8, 2018.
“Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayon”, The New Yorker, October 2017.
Kane, Lauren. “Staff Picks: Belkis Ayon Manso”, the Paris Review, September 22, 2017.
Whitney, Will. “Belkis Ayon: Nkame”, The Brooklyn Rail, September 7, 2017.
Cotter, Holland. “From Cuba, a Stolen Myth”, The New York Times, June 22, 2017.
“Nkame in New York: Belkis Ayon at El Museo del Barrio”, Cuban Art News, June 20, 2017.
Cotter, Holland. “A Bumpy Journey From Havana to New York Ends at ‘Wild Noise/Ruido Salvaje”, The New York Times, February 16, 2017.
Frank, Priscilla. “Exploring The Shadowy World Of A Cuban Feminist Legend”, The Huffington Post, January 3, 2017.
“NKAME: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón”, Fowler Museum at UCLA, September 6, 2016.
Hernandez-Tapia, Lidia. “The Mysterious World of Belkis Ayón”, Cuban Art News, November 8, 2016.
“Primera individual en EEUU de Belkis Ayón, una artista prolífica en su corta vida”, Artishock, November 5, 2016.
Garcia, Christina. “Surfaces, Skins and Secrets: BELKIS AYÓN in L.A. By Christina Garcia”, Cuban Counterpoints, November 1, 2016.
Vankin, Deborah. “The late Cuban artist Belkis Ayón’s mysterious world unfurls at the Fowler Museum”, Los Angeles Times, September 23, 2016.
Henry, Rowanne. “Fowler Museum presents first solo U.S. museum exhibition of Cuban artist Belkis Ayón”, UCLA Newsroom, August 30, 2016.
Brandywine Workshop, Center for the Visual Arts Cuba Project, Philadelphia, PA
The Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Bronski Center, Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Benson Hall Gallery, Rhode Island School of Design, RI
Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal, Holland
Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, United States
Brownstone Foundation, Paris, France
Casa de las Américas, Havana
Cleveland Museum of Art
coda Museum Apeldoorn, Apeldoorn, Holland
daros Latinamerica Collection, Zurich, Switzerland
José Lezama Lima House-Museum, Havana
Lehigh University Art Galleries, Bethlehem, PA, United States
Ludwig Museum in the Russian Museum, State Russian Museum, St Petersburg, Russia
Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen, Germany
Museum of Art / Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States
National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana
National Museum of Engraving, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nelson Fine Art Center, Tempe, AZ, United States
Sofía Imbert Contemporary Art Museum, Caracas, Venezuela
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, United States
The Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA, United States
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, United States
The Norton Family Foundation, Santa Monica, CA, United States
University of Central Florida Library, Orlando, FL, United States
Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center, Havana