Revolutionary Island: Tales of Cuban History and Culture, The Sarah and Darius Anderson Collection January 19–March 24, 2013

“Nothing in Cuba is what it appears,” says Darius Anderson and he should know from his 25 plus years traveling to that fascinating island. From January 19-March 24, 2013,  Anderson’s passion for Cuba will be reflected in a new exhibit coming to the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art (www.svma.org). Revolutionary Island: Tales of Cuban History and Culture The Sarah and Darius Anderson Collection.

“A culture is expressed through its art,” said Kate Eilertsen, Executive Director of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.  “The works in this exhibition provide a profound and realistic assessment of revolutionary to present-day Cuba. Some of the works are powerfully moving, like a series of near life-sized paintings of everyday Cuban people doing everyday things, but all under water. The impact comes when you find that every one of these people of all ages—men, women, even children—have died attempting to cross over by sea to Florida. This personalizes an ongoing tragedy still relevant today.”

The Sarah and Darius Anderson Collection demonstrates that passion with objects as diverse as paintings, sculpture, humidors and more. Through this dynamic and diverse collection viewers will see not only art work illustrating the desire to express non-conformity, or even a sly, knowing wink to the savvy viewer, but also the passion for baseball, love of tobacco and a collection of historic documents that will illustrate the stories that make up the culture and history of this island of revolution.

“Just the word Cuba evokes a passion within me that draws me back every time,” said Darius Anderson.  “At the young age of fourteen my family introduced me to the adventures of Sonoma’s greatest son, Jack London. His love and interest fueled my obsession in all things Cuba. At age sixteen I learned that Jack traveled to Cuba on his honeymoon — I told myself that one day, I too would visit that exotic place. This is the land Christopher first landed in the new world. It’s history includes stories of great riches, heartbreakingpoverty, battling ideologies, respect and love of the arts. Most importantly it is a history that is steeped in sugar, rum, tobacco and baseball — all my favorite vices.”

According to famous Cuban artist Ibrahim Miranda, “Our insular condition has been a decisive factor in our culture, influencing our myths, fantasies and our national psyche. The sensation of being isolated, separated from everyone, floating in the middle of the sea, has been a strong stimulus to the imagination of Cuban artists.”

This exhibition will feature Cuban artists: Rene Francisco, Esterio Segura, Ruben Alpizar, Carlos Valera (musician) and many more.

With more than 1,000 members, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art (SVMA) is the largest visual arts organization in the San Francisco North Bay region. It was incorporated in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to promote the creation, exhibition, and collection of fine arts, to provide a venue for art exhibition in Sonoma, and to offer educational opportunities for people of all ages. It occupies an 8,000-square-foot space at 551 Broadway, just one-half block south of the historic Sonoma Plaza.  The Museum purchased the building in early 2001, and completed extensive renovations in March 2004.

A special members’ preview will be held Friday, January 18 at 5pm. Special programs and events will be held throughout the exhibition. The exhibition will open to the public Saturday, January 19, 2013. Museum hours are Wednesday–Sunday from 11am to 5pm. More information about the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is available at www.svma.org  or by calling (707) 939-7862.

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