AKAA – Also Known as Africa celebrates creativity by dedicating the central aisle of the Carreau du Temple to a monumental installation, landmark of the fair.
In 2018, the Cubean artist Susana Pilar, presented by GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana and patron gallery of Susana Pilar’s monumental project, is exhibited in the central aisle.

Reconstruction of a Family portrait

In her work, the interest of Cuban artist Susana Pilar is strongly oriented towards her past and history. From her personal experience, she focuses on subjects such as the body, gender, race and social issues. Susana creates transdisciplinary projects using various media such as video, photography or new media, as well as writing and sound installations.

In her series “Lo que contaba la abuela…” (What Granny told…) specifically designed for the AKAA 2018 monumental installation, Susana Pilar discloses her family history and especially her Sino-African roots, a subject that deeply characterizes her work: the black woman and self-consciousness. The seven glowing boxes incorporate pictures of women from Susana’s family, enlarged to the artist’s size.  This installation makes these women return from oblivion and relate to each other like in a family album, where each woman has an infinitiy of things to tell. Susana Pilar reproduces the portraits of her great-grandmother, her grandmother, her two great aunts, her mother, her sister and herself. The entire series is displayed for the first time at AKAA, specifically designed for the space. With set of mirrors, the artist conveys her desire to generate a polysemy of meanings and above all to integrate the audience into the discourse of the piece.

In this work Susana Pilar also pursues a very intimate research. Through the history of her female ancestors, she builds an investigation and digs into her past in search of her Chinese (male) ancestor, who arrived in Cuba at the end of the 19th century. These fragments of lost stories lead us to imagine, through different periods of time, the stories of each member of her family. In a way rebuilding a photographic genetic code that reveals her roots, highlighted through black and white images, Susana Pilar draws the visitor’s attention into the deep gaze of each woman who shaped her history.

Laura Salas Redondo