Featured Artist Biographies
Ruth Behar was born in Havana, Cuba, a place she left with her parents when she was 5 years old. In 1962, she went to live first to Israel and then to New York. Behar received her B.A. in Letters from Wesleyan University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Princeton University.
At the start of her career as an anthropologist, Ruth Behar was granted a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award (1988). A distinguished scholar, she has since been the recipient of many prestigious fellowships for her academic and artistic work, including a John Simon Guggenheim award in 1995, a Creative Artist Grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs in 1998, and, in 1999, she was named one of the 50 Latinas who made history in the twentieth century. Presently, she is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan.
From birth, Ruth Behar has had a strong attachment to the Spanish-speaking world. During the past thirty years she has traveled numerous times to Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and Cuba. Her return visits to the island in search of personal and intellectual connections have inspired a proliferation of artistic work. She has written multiple articles and books about her experience of crossing cultural borders as an essayist, poet, fiction writer, editor, and ethnographer. Her work focuses on women and feminism, as well as her personal life experiences as a Jewish Cuban-American woman.
Her books include The Presence of the Past in a Spanish Village: Santa María del Monte (Princeton, 1986), Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza's Story (Beacon Press, 1993), Bridges to Cuba/Puentes a Cuba (University of Michigan Press, 1995), among others. She has as well explored successfully documentary filmmaking with Adio Kerida / Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey, about the search for identity and memory among Sephardic Cuban Jews living in Cuba, Miami, and New York.
Featured Guest Speakers:
Rolando Estévez Jordán
Born in Matanzas, Cuba, Rolando Estévez Jordán (1953) is a poet and visual artist who works in multiple mediums, such as drawing, painting, installation, performance, stage design, and handmade book design. He teaches basic freestyle design and theatre design in Matanzas, where he is also a leading promoter and organizer of artistic events, competitions, exhibitions and other alternative cultural activities.
In 1985, Estévez and poet Alfredo Zaldívar founded Ediciones Vigía, a small publishing house specializing in handmade books of works by Cuban and international writers. Since that time, he has served as its principal designer and artist. As such, Estévez has designed the majority of its publications and also trained other Ediciones Vigía designers. His original creative work has come to define Vigia’s style. Estévez has created over 500 handmade artist books, magazines, plaquettes, and catalogs often in small editions. In addition, in the last few years, he has been producing one-of-a-kind books. The MU Museum or Art and Archaeology holds a major collection of these extraordinary books.
Estévez’s Ediciones Vigía books are also collected privately and in cultural institutions in Europe and the US, such as the British National Library, the Atlantic Art Museum, the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the U.S. Library of Congress, as well as numerous universities in the U.S., Canada and other countries in the Americas.
With his stage designs, Estévez has participated in major theatre festivals in Cuba and overseas. Solo exhibitions of his drawings, one-of-a-kind books, and other graphic works have been held in Cuba, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France, Venezuela, Martinique, and Australia. His work in the plastic arts has earned him multiple recognitions, such as the Roberto Diago Award (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995); the Fayad Jamis Grand Prize (1995); three times the National Graphic Prize (1995, 1997, 1999); the National Theater Design Award (1990, 2000); and, the highest honor, the National Book Design Award by the Instituto Cubano del Libro (2010).
Born in 1944 in Havana to a militant dock worker and a trade-unionist seamstress, Nancy Morejón is one of the most distinguished poets who emerged after the Cuban Revolution. She was the first Afro-Cuban to graduate from Havana University, where she majored in French, and the first black woman poet to publish widely and be accepted as a professional writer, critic, and translator. A prolific writer, she has published more than thirty-five collections of poems, along with seven collections of essays on Cuban and Caribbean culture and humanities, in addition to countless newspaper articles. Her work has been anthologized and translated into more than a dozen languages, including Greek, and Japanese. In 2003,Wayne State University press published the most complete bilingual anthology of her poetry, Looking Within / Mirar Adentro: Selected Poems. Poemas escogidos. 1954-2000, which became an instant best seller for the press. Furthermore she has collaborated with prominent musicians, playwrights, and actors, andmore recently she has extended her artistic talents into the visual arts.
Morejón has been the recipient of multiple awards including Cuba’s National Prize for Literature (2001), the Golden Crown for the International Festival de Poetry in Struga, Macedonia (2006); the Honoris Causa doctorate from the Universityof Cergy-Pontoise, in Paris, France (2009). Currently, she is President of the Cuban Academy of Language and President of Writers for U.N.E.A.C..
Nancy Morejón’s work addresses contemporary issues of gender, ethnicity, history, and Cuban identity as part of the greater web of the African Diaspora in the Americas. With lyrical, profound, and complex subtleties, her poetry stands as reflections and refractions of the convergence of Spanish and African cultures in Cuba. She celebrates blackness but refuses to inscribe her identity within the parameters of any single factor. “I am, at once, Nancy Morejón,” she says, “an individual, a unity, who cannot be subdivided into parts as one does when learning math…I am not more of a black person than a woman; I am not more of a woman than a Cuban; I am not more of a black person than a Cuban. I am a brief combustion of those factors.”
Ivo Zander is the Anders Wall Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University. He received his PhD from the Institute of International Business, Stockholm School of Economics, and has been a visiting scholar at the Harvard Business School, SCANCOR at Stanford University, and Macquarie Graduate School of Management.
Before moving into the field of entrepreneurship, professor Zander conducted research on regional agglomerations and the internationalization of research and development in multinational corporations. His work has appeared in journals such as Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of International Management, Journal of Management Studies, Industrial and Corporate Change, and Research Policy. Current research interests include the entrepreneurial dynamics of accelerated internationalization, the evolution of advanced foreign subsidiaries of the multinational corporation, corporate entrepreneurship, and art entrepreneurship.
Professor Zander was co-founder of Latvian Limousine Services and has served on the board of directors at Kumlins Holding AB, a nation-wide and rapidly expanding firm in painting services. He has served as an expert evaluator for the Swedish Research Council, the Knowledge Foundation, and the European Science Foundation. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and of the prize committee for the Akzo Nobel Science Award Sweden.
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