In 1985, Cuban artist José Bedia was a rising star in his homeland. He had recently completed a Ford Foundation artist’s residency in the United States when the notification arrived. “I was 26 and had just returned to Havana from New York. The Cuban military called me up for mandatory service in Angola at a time when my wife had just given birth to my son. Now, three short months later, I was being shipped to Africa and couldn’t say no for fear of retaliation against my family,” Bedia recollects in this article by Carlos Suáarez de Jesús for The Miemia Herald.
That unexpected journey to Angola was the catalyst for his decision to leave Cuba. It was also a rare opportunity to venture into the African hinterland to discover the fountainhead of his faith — the Afro-Caribbean religion Palo Monte.
Those experiences and others are the inspiration behind…
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