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Art imitating life: An exploration of the Chinese Caribbean diaspora

CGTN | Updated: 2018-03-20 16:29
"My Mother Told Me I Am Chinese: China Porcelain", 2008, hand-painted Chinese porcelain and Plexiglas shelf. Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Samsøñ, and Gallery Wendi Norris. Installation view in "Circles and Circuits II: Contemporary Chinese Caribbean Art".[Photo by Ian Byers-Gamber, courtesy of the Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles]

Chinese perspective

Regardless of geographic location, Chinese culture has influenced these artists.

“I grew up aware of my Chinese ancestors, there was significant consumption of Chinese food at home. In fact one of my favorite desserts was something we called at home 'Calabazita China', still, you could find it in Matanzas," artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons told CGTN Digital.

"I was aware of the Chinese influence in Santeria objects of the workshop and just was a very common layer of everyday life," the Cuban-born visual artist said, noting that the Chinese side of her family worked as indentured servants in sugar mills in Cuba.

"What I know about them is that they were in the west of the island original in Pinar del Rio, in a town called Guane. I believe the work there was centered on tobacco and railroad," she told CGTN Digital from Nashville, Tennessee in the US. "When I was young I visited some of my Chinese relatives in Havana City."

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