NKAME: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón (1967–1999)

February 29–May 24, 2020 • Free Admission

(Closed early due to COVID-19)

Chicago Cultural Center, Sidney R. Yates Gallery, 4th Floor North

Chicago Cultural Center  >  Visual Art Program  >  Exhibitions  >  Past Exhibitions  >  NKAME: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón


NKAME: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón (1967–1999)(click on image to enlarge)


This landmark retrospective is the first in the U.S. dedicated to the work of Belkis Ayón, the late Cuban visual artist and printmaker who mined the founding myth of the Afro-Cuban fraternal society of Abaquá to create an independent and powerful visual iconography. The exhibition’s 47 prints encompass a wide range of the artist’s graphic production including her signature collography technique, a printing process combining materials of various textures and absorbencies.

Curated by Cristina Vives and organized by the Belkis Ayón Estate, Havana, Cuba, with the Chicago Cultural Center. Exhibition tour management by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, California.


Virtual Programming

Lucky Plush Productions

Rooming House

April 27 & 28, 7–8:45pm streaming pre-recorded performances with live post-show artist talk
April 29–May 24, free on-demand streaming of performance

Rooming House begins with an intimate conversation among friends, slipping easily between Spanish and English, as they recall stories of people who’ve taken actions with potentially devastating costs. When the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is mentioned, varied interpretations propel the group into a physically and psychologically complex game of whodunit, taking them down a rabbit hole into the lives of everyday people who do extraordinary things—from life-endangering rescues, to defecting from Cuba, to letting go of someone you love.

Related Program:

May 7, 1–2pm: The Dances of Afro-Cuban Orishas with Michel Rodriguez Cintra


Honey Pot Performance

If/Then Online Series

April 29, 7-8:30pm: If/Then with special guest Norman Long
May 13, 7-8:30pm: If/Then with special guests Sojourner Zenobia and Allegra Delores
May 24, 2-4pm: All ensemble program with Honey Pot Performance and special guests along with a discussion of NKAME: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón (1967-1999)

If/Then is an open studio series that brings Chicago-based Honey Pot Performance into conversation with artists aligned with the ensemble's creative work and values. Each program looks at aesthetics through hands on engagement, building upon the use of binary systems and divination/divining as a central metaphor in Honey Pot Performance’s creative process. If/Then investigates ways spirit and intuition guide artistic practice, and creates fluid combinations of play and ritual to encourage a collective magic with guest artists and audience.


Public Programs

Opening Preview

Friday, February 28, 5–8pm


Curator Tour with Curator Cristina Vives and Artist Jacqueline Maggi

Saturday, February 29, Noon–1pm


This brief documentary, made in 2017, shows a 1993 interview of Belkis Ayón in which she discusses her interest in the male-dominated Abakuá secret society and the myth of princess Sikán, who became a central symbol in Ayón's work.

Belkis Ayón, interviewed by Inés Anselmi, 2017. Video, color. Courtesy of the Belkis Ayón Estate.

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