Diago: An art for all time.

The Cuban artist Roberto Diago (Havana, 1971) exhibits for the first time in Martinique. His exhibition An art for all time was inaugurated on March 10 and can be seen until next May 2 at the Clément Foundation, based in the Martinique commune of Le François. Although it has not been conceived as a retrospective, the exhibition covers more than twenty years of creation.

Curated by American-born collector and gallery owner Gilbert Brownstone, An Art for All Time exhibits two-dimensional works, graphics, videos, sculptures, and installations. Here, Diago wallows in themes that he has investigated since the beginning of his career: the traces of the slave in black people, recycled materials, the African diaspora and the resistance of subaltern bodies…


The Clement Foundation describes the Cuban as “one of the most important and unique artists of his generation.” “Roberto Diago’s work”, he adds, “is marked by a social commitment. Although he does not submit to a single discourse or theme, it is perhaps the denunciation of racism that occupies the most space in his pictorial work and installations.

“The artist defends his ideas through his works, be they figurative, sculptural, photographic, installations and even through his monochrome, black or white canvases,” Brownstone maintains. “Diago sculpts. Diago paints, but he never forgets the deep purpose of his art. His battle is against racism and differences. At first glance, it could be said that these works are related to minimalist art. Yes, but not alone. His monochrome paintings are metaphors.”

Diago, who has exhibited in more than twenty countries and has works in several of the most important collections in the world, arrives on this other Caribbean island with several of his most iconic pieces. All of them, from an Afro-descendant consciousness, insist on coloniality as a device that eliminates the personal voice; that is why many of his faces do not have a mouth. The voice, as a political agency, is part of the resistance that Diago addresses within his ethno-racial imaginary.


“Diago inscribes his difference”, also says the curator of this exhibition. “It is important to underline this greater and original aspect of his work: a painting that at first glance would be described as minimalist because it is in black or white. In reality, it is not because a few simple red spots thrown on the black of the canvas represent blood, or the vertical cords that divide the whiteness into other pieces evoke the chains of slavery, racism. In short, Diago conveys his message to us with great strength and elegance and that is what makes his work so personal”.

Brownstone assures that An art for all time makes an “impartial” and “fairly complete” tour of the different formats and series that Roberto Diago has cultivated. “We are pleased to present,” he adds, “very old and unpublished works dating from the 1990s, as well as recent works that bear little resemblance to his early period. At the same time, the public will have the possibility of living with not one, but several of the most recurring manifestations and techniques in his work”.