24 THRU May 5

Diago: The Pasts of This Afro-Cuban Present

After it appeared in the Cooper Gallery’s 2015 group exhibition Drapetomanía, Juan Roberto Diago saw his mixed-media piece Yo soy monte (I Am the Mountain) enter the Museum of Fine Arts’ permanent collection. A few years later, the 45-year-old Cuban artist now finds himself back at the Cooper Gallery—only this time as the subject of his first major retrospective. Curator Alejandro de la Fuente scours his two-decade-plus career, in which he’s examined Cuba’s African diaspora and tackled political and social issues. Inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ed Ruscha and fellow Cubans Antonio Gattorno and Wilfredo Lam, Diago gathers plastic bottles and other materials in his neighborhood, like the metal sheet used as a canvas for Un Pedrazo de Mi Historia (A Piece of My History), seen above. Diago: The Pasts of This Afro-Cuban Present, which also makes use of photographs of friends and family and wooden planks from shanty structures, is on display through May 5.

The Cooper Gallery

102 Mount Auburn St. Cambridge, MA 02138 United States (617) 496-5777