José Bedia. Desde que te fuistes…tu no te imaginas (Since you left…you can’t imagine), 1996. Acrylic on canvas. 70 x 93 inches. Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, gift of Peter Menéndez
José Bedia’s work draws on cultural experiences related to his native Cuba. His painting, Desde que te fuistes…tu no te imaginas, visualizes the complex relationship between Cubans living in exile and those they leave behind. Bisected horizontally, the composition depicts an epic journey involving two stylized figures. In the upper half, the female figure bids farewell to her male counterpart as he rows away from the colossal head she kneels atop—a symbol Bedia often uses to represent Cuba. In the lower half, the figures, opposite one another on isolated lands, reconnect by phone, intertwining white lines marking their communication. The wistful title conveys both the longing and hardship that permeates such separations.