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Columbia Missourian

'Cultural Bricolage' conference will highlight Cuban literature and art

By Ie'shia McDonald
November 8, 2012 | 7:04 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Ediciones Vigía is a publishing company in Matanzas, Cuba, known for its handmade books containing water-colored illustrations painted on a wrinkled canvas, skillfully woven together to create a literary art piece.

Some of these artistic books can be found at MU’s Museum of Art and Archaeology and Ellis Library.

If you go

Pre-Conference Event: "We Always Swing" Jazz Series
Location: Whitmore Recital Hall, Fine Arts Building

Concert will feature Hilaro Durán and Jane Bunnett with Candido Camero
Tickets are $24/$29

Special Gallery Preview: "Works on Paper" by Rolando Estévez Jordán
Time: 3 to 5 p.m.
Location: George Caleb Bingham Gallery, Fine Arts Building

Screening of "Un libro único de Estévez" by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook and performance of "I Love My Master" by Nancy Morejón
Time: 5 to 6 p.m. 
Location: Museum of Art and Archaeology, Pickard Hall

Screening of "Ediciones Vigía: Poéticas visuales" by Junamaría Cordones-Cook followed by a panel discussion. 

Time: 7 to 8 p.m.

Location: Stotler Lounge, Memorial Union
Registration is 7:45 to 8:30 a.m. The rest of the day will have  breakout sessions beginning at 10:15 a.m. A reception at Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar at 8 p.m. will conclude the day.

Location: Stotler Lounge, Memorial Union, Perlow-Stevens Gallery
Breakfast will be from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. followed by presentations given by MU faculty members and various guests. Guests include: Cuban poet Nancy Moréjon, poet and publisher Rolando Estévez Jordán, and Jeanne Drewes from the Library of Congress. The night will end with a closing reception beginning at 5 at the Perlow-Stevens Gallery.

Post-conference Event: Poetry reading by Nancy Moréjon and Salgado Maranhao
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: 105 Strickland Hall

Saturday through Wednesday, the "Cultural Bricolage: Artist’s Books of Ediciones Vigía," a conference highlighting Cuban literature, will take place across campus. Mizzou Advantage is sponsoring the event.

MU Spanish professor and filmmaker Juanamaría Cordones-Cook came up with the idea for the conference after being introduced to the books 17 years ago through poet and friend Nancy Morejón. Fascinated by the merging of literature and art, Cordones-Cook returned to MU with 32 books.

"I thought that these books were so unique, how they were based on creativity, ingenuity and a lack of resources," Cordones-Cook said. "I felt it needed to be known around the world."

Fast-forward 15 years, and the museum's collection has grown to more than 115 books, all produced by Ediciones Vigía, Cordones-Cook said. She said she thinks that due to the collection's rarity and uniqueness, MU has been willing to support her agenda to buy more books.

Cordones-Cook began to devise a plan to expose more people to the literary works of Ediciones Vigía. With the help of other faculty members, the Cultural Bricolage Conference began to form.

Cordones-Cook, along with the rest of the Mizzou Advantage Committee, began planning a conference featuring the books of Ediciones Vigía two years ago. The conference was pitched to MU’s Office of the Provost and was approved Feb. 15.

"Planning this conference has been the best experience I’ve had at the University of Missouri in 23 years thanks to the collaboration of 60 scholars," Cordones-Cook said. "This conference has become more than we could have ever envisioned."

The conference will include live music, documentary films by Cordones-Cook, a Cuban-themed dinner at Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar, exhibits of the books, and a chance to meet with Cuban poet Nancy Morejón and Cuban poet and publisher Rolando Estévez Jordán.

"This conference represents an extraordinary constellation of scholars, documentary film, and Cuban artwork, artists, poets, handmade one-of-a-kind books and entrepreneurship — all of which is embodied in the transdisciplinary goals of the Mizzou Advantage," said Berkley Hudson, communications chairman of the conference and an associate professor of magazine journalism in the School of Journalism.

As the conference approaches, Cordones-Cook is looking forward to meeting other people who share her interest in Cuban literature.

"I’m eager to visit all of the exhibits myself," Cordones-Cook said. "I’m also excited for everyone to see these works; it should be an inspiration to experience the beauty that can be created with recycled material."

The three-day conference is open and free to the public. Those interested in attending the Cuban-themed dinner at Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar will need to purchase a ticket through the conference's website.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.