'Memories Of Cuba' Debuts In The South Main Arts District

Art Village Gallery continues to be the gallery of choice for those seeking international artwork and culture. Based in the South Main Arts District, the gallery is bringing the beauty and magic of Cuba, "the Pearl of the Antilles," to the Mid-South. Featuring fifteen medium to large-scale mixed media and acrylic works on canvas, Recuerdos De Cuba / Memories of Cuba, is the visionary work of native Cuban artist Eduin Fraga. This solo exhibition features a powerful critique of the political and systemic struggles in Cuba, from failing infrastructure to socio-economic restrictions where citizens are caught between local and global forces. Fraga's signature collage works express the complex, nuanced triumphs and challenges of daily life in Cuba. This Havana-born artist is celebrated for his generous eye and layered storytelling in a variety of mediums. In his works, taxi drivers lounge on carefully maintained classic cars, families wait in long line for buses and gather outside bodegas, men play dominoes piercing the air with their laughter, and musicians and other artists collaborate, clasping hands. Born in 1974, this is Eduin Fraga's first solo exhibition at the gallery and his first visit to Memphis.

Recuerdos De Cuba will kick off on Thursday, September 27, 2018 from 6pm-8pm, offering a special preview party, Collector's First Look + Press Reception where media and invited guests will join curator Sheila Urevbu and artist Eduin Fraga for a private first look with early evening drinks and conversation. The formal public opening will launch on the ever-exciting, ever-evolving Trolley Night, Friday, September 28 from 6:30pm - 8:30pm for locals curious about all things Cuban.

Taking place at Art Village Gallery, which specializes in curating culturally significant exhibitions and experiences that inspire an appreciation for diversity and culture, the Recuedos de Cuba/Memories of Cuba exhibition encompasses the upper level exhibition space in the gallery. In addition to the exhibition, Art Village Gallery will offer a sensational schedule of special events, performances, and fun, dynamic educational experiences to complement this rare Cuban art experience in Memphis including:

A chance to explore both visual and culinary arts while you taste delicious Cuban cuisine at the exhibition dinner and dialogue with Chef Ana Gonzalez (limited tickets and seating), where the food on the plate and the vibrant art on the wall create an opportunity for new discussions, culture and inclusion.

Join a Gallery Tour by Dr. Conrad James of the University of Birmingham, UK on Sunday, September 30 from 4pm-5pm. Tours will also be scheduled each Thursday from 12:00pm- 1:00pm pm for groups and the general public.

Enjoy the Sounds of Cuba get-down party and listening salon, and a Simply Cuba Cinema Series that includes wine and popcorn for your ultimate movie experience.

"Cuban artists, within and beyond the island's borders, have made incredible contributions to the world of art, expanding our social-political discussions of freedom, the role of art and the challenges in its creation," says Recuerdos de Cuba curator and gallery director, Sheila Urevbu. "At Art Village Gallery we are conscious of the needs and interests of new, emerging collectors. We have partnered with Paragon Bank to provide art loans to purchase works with low interest and manageable payments, and we offer original art work priced affordably, starting well below $1000. We pride ourselves on connecting our surrounding community with exciting, new and emerging international talent. It is a pleasure to welcome Eduin Fraga to Memphis, and we anticipate him creating beautiful new memories of his time here."

About Art Village Gallery: Art Village Gallery is a contemporary fine art gallery located in the historic South Main Arts District in Memphis, TN and has the primary purpose of supporting and promoting the work of emerging International Artists. Founded in 1991 by Ephraim Urevbu and currently led by Sheila Urevbu, the gallery has established a reputation for designing and showcasing culturally significant exhibitions and experiences that inspire an appreciation for diversity and culture.

Eduin Fraga was born in Havana, Cuba in 1974. He began painting over fifteen years ago, blending newspaper collage and paint on canvas in order to capture dynamic fragments of society within the piece. Fraga considers his technique of painting and newspaper collage to be a unique mechanism through which to add complexity and richness to the work while simultaneously transforming it into a form of historical register of social experience. Fraga formally studied at the Experimental Center of Visual Arts in Havana and graduated in 2012. He has been invited to present his work in galleries and universities within the US and in Cuba. His most recent work is part of the Northwestern Mutual Insurance's Giving Gallery, a February 2018 exhibit that focuses on philanthropic partnerships in Milwaukee, WI. Fraga currently divides his time between Cuba and the United States.

Ana Gonzalez is a native of Colombia where Spanish and African influences shape the cooking; It was these influences that she brought with her when she moved to Miami with her family as a young girl. She grew up helping her mother in the kitchen and eventually even helped her with her catering business on the weekends. By the time she was sixteen, she had landed a job in the kitchen of the Alexander Hotel, and she later graduated from culinary school at the prestigious Johnson and Wales University. After graduation, she earned a scholarship to study pastry in Holland. There she studied under other chefs in her field and was able to hone her skills even more. Once back in the states, she moved from Miami to Orlando, where she worked at Orlando's Peabody Hotel. Around 2007, both Gonzalez and her husband, Brian Barrow, whom she met in culinary school at Johnson and Wales, transferred to The Peabody in Memphis, where they worked with José Gutierrez. Another amazing opportunity presented itself to Gonzalez and in 2013 she transferred to The Westin Memphis Beale Street to become the Executive Chef at their Bleu Restaurant & Lounge where she still creates memorable dining experiences.

Dr. Conrad James teaches a range of courses on the literature, culture and social history of the Spanish Caribbean and its diasporas at the University of Birmingham, UK. His work focuses mainly on Cuban, Dominican and Dominican-American writers.

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