Is life reflected in art, or does art illuminate the deeper issues of life?
This oft-pondered question seems especially relevant in the context of Brazil, Cuba and Haiti. The three countries share Afro-European roots, controversial alternative folk religions, and multiple issues — of identity, isolation, ecosystem preservation, poverty, colonial pasts, and of surface perceptions. These concerns can't help but influence their modern artists — whether living at home or abroad — and the visceral nature of the artwork they produce.
In turn, by virtue of their high-profile global personalities, the three countries also compel and inspire artists from other places to try to decipher their complexities and charms. This survey of contemporary work by artists from Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and "other places" may provide insight or pose additional questions about the joys and dilemmas of life in the tropics today.