President Jimmy Carter at The 8th Floor

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The 8th Floor was proud to host a social event on Sunday, March 23, attended by President Jimmy Carter and by his grandson, Georgia State Sen. Jason Carter. President Carter visited The 8th Floor, the art gallery supported by philanthropists and art collectors Shelley and Donald Rubin in New York City, where the art exhibit Drapetomanía: Grupo Antillano and the Art of Afro-Cuba, curated by Harvard Professor Alejandro de la Fuente, is currently on display.

Drapetomanía is a tribute to Grupo Antillano (1978-83), a forgotten visual arts and cultural movement that privileged the importance of African and Afro-Caribbean influences in the formation of the Cuban nation. The art of Grupo Antillano belongs to a long tradition of Caribbean resistance and cultural assertion. It is part of what Haitian poet René Depestre has described as the African slaves’ “prodigious effort at legitimate defense” and “ideological cimarronaje (“self-liberation”)” by which they managed to recreate their pasts and cultures in the new world. The exhibit seeks to recover the memory of this group and their important contributions to the art of Cuba, the Caribbean, and the African diaspora.

The exhibition will go on to the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco (fall 2014) and to the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University (spring 2015).