José Bedia Valdés
All My Life Like This?
José Bedia Valdés, Cuban, All My Life Like This?, 1991, Acrylic on canvas with rope; 171.4 x 298.4 cm (67 1/2 x 117 1/2 inches) irregular, Nancy Sayles Day Collection of Modern Latin American Art 1992.025
In his work, Bedia draws on the Cuban mestizo culture of Native American, African, and European peoples and often incorporates symbolism from the Afro-Cuban Santería religion. Toda la vida asi? is painted on an unstretched canvas, reminiscent of animal hides. The man on a tightrope suspended over jagged peaks and skulls suggests the fragile balance of life and reveals Bedia’s preoccupation with themes of escape and transcendence. It may also allude to the precariousness of daily life in the early 1990s in Cuba, where Bedia still lived when he made this painting.