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Artist Juan Boza opens this statement by discussing his hometown of Camagüey, Cuba. He mentions that the city has many “magico-religious” legends inherited from its ancestors. Boza also notes the African roots of his religious beliefs stating that his aesthetics are informed by the different cultural influences in Cuba in addition to those more universal. Thus, his imagery is selected from his unconscious. The author describes his artistic training in Cuba and the fact that in 1971 he was prohibited from producing artwork. For the next 9 years, he explains, Boza grew spiritually, and finally, in 1980, he left Cuba. Although he left behind all of the people who made him who he is, he did bring his memories and heritage with him to the United States.
Juan Boza (1941–1991) was a Cuban-born artist and initiate of Santería, the most popular Afro-cult in Cuba. He immigrated to the United States in 1980 as part of the Mariel boatlift. Once in New York, his work began to focus on Afro-Cuban religions that he interpreted artistically. This essay by Randall Morris appears in a chapter about the work of Juan Boza in the 1996 anthology, Santería Aesthetics in Contemporary Latin American Art, edited by Arturo Lindsay. The chapter also includes an interview between Ricardo Viera and Boza (see doc. No. 847698), and essays by Viera (doc. No. 847679) and Morris (doc. No. 847786).