The Multiple Surrealisms of Wifredo Lam

Art Matters Lecture with Mey-Yen Moriuchi

Mey-Yen Moriuchi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Art History La Salle University

The Cuban artist Wifredo Lam (1902-1982) is acclaimed for his semi-abstract, polymorphic paintings that draw on African motifs and the Santeria religion, in addition to avant-garde movements such as Cubism and Surrealism. His hybrid animal-human figures and fragmented, flattened compositions are linked to his Afro-Cuban culture, as well as to his experimentation with automatism and surrealist games. The emphasis on Lam’s African roots and his encounter with European modernism has neglected the influence of Lam’s Chinese culture on his art. Is there a convergence of Chinese and Afro-Cuban traditions that have been overlooked? This lecture will explore the impact of Lam’s Chinese heritage on his artistic production and will consider the significance of multiple Surrealisms- European, Caribbean, Asian- present in his oeuvre. 


This event is in person at Santa Barbara Museum of Art's Mary Craig Auditorium.

In an effort to create the safest possible environment, please note visitors who plan to attend an event in SBMA’s Mary Craig Auditorium must show proof of being fully vaccinated with a booster (if eligible) OR, in some cases, supply a negative Covid-19 medical test result (taken within 72 hours prior to each event), along with an official photo ID, before entering the venue. All visitors must also follow SBMA’s mask policy and wear a mask while attending events in SBMA's Mary Craig Auditorium.

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