Cuban artist subject of the Art Matters conference

This is “The Eternal Presence (A Tribute to Alejandro García Caturla)” by Wifredo Lam (detail), 1944, oil and pastel on papier-mâché and chalk on bast fiber cloth. Mr. Lam’s art will be discussed June 2 at a talk at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

“The Multiple Surrealisms of Wifredo Lam” will be the subject of an in-person Art Matters lecture by Mey-Yen Moriuchi, associate professor of art history at La Salle University in Philadelphia, at 5:30 p.m. June 2 at the Mary Craig Auditorium at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St.

Cuban artist Wifredo Lam (1902-1982) is acclaimed for his semi-abstract and polymorphic paintings that draw on African motifs and the Santeria religion, as well as avant-garde movements such as Cubism and Surrealism . His hybrid animal-human figures and fragmented, flattened compositions are tied to his Afro-Cuban culture, as well as his experimentation with automatism and surreal games.

The emphasis on Mr. Lam’s African roots and his encounter with European modernism overlooked the influence of his Chinese culture on his art, according to a press release. Is there a convergence of Chinese and Afro-Cuban traditions that has been overlooked? This lecture explores the impact of Mr. Lam’s Chinese heritage on his artistic production and considers the importance of the multiple surrealisms – European, Caribbean, Asian – present in his work.

Admission is free for students and Museum Circle members, $10 for SBMA members, and $15 for non-members. To purchase, go to

Visitors planning to attend the event must present proof of being fully vaccinated with a booster (if eligible) or, in some cases, provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to the event. event, as well as government-issued photo ID, before entering the venue.

All visitors must also follow the SBMA’s mask policy and wear a mask when attending events in the SBMA’s Mary Craig Auditorium.


For more information, call the museum at 805-884-6430 or email

Jessica C. Bell