In this vast composition, figures with animal heads and murderously seductive female attributes are enmeshed in a dense tropical landscape. Completed while the artist was in Haiti, the painting liberally references Afro-Cuban culture, its Santería religion, and psychoanalyst Carl Jung's texts on archetypes of the collective unconscious.
Lam employed the conventions of European Modernism to express aspects of his African, Spanish, and Chinese heritage. Born in Cuba, he received artistic training in Spain. In 1938 he moved to Paris, where he was influenced and encouraged by Pablo Picasso. When he returned home, he established friendships with other Cuban artists, including the composer Alejandro García Caturla, to whom he dedicated The Eternal Presence.
Web copy 9/15/2021