Armando Marino’s The Raft is a shiny deep blue and yellow, wheel-less body of a 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe, supported from below by a profusion of Cuban legs, appearing to be on-the-march. At first glance Marino’s sculpture appears ridiculous and funny but is also a poignant reminder of the chronic shortages and economic hardships that have plagued Cuba for the last half century.
Created in response to the diaspora of the Cuban people in the 1990’s, when thousands of Cubans left the island by any means possible, often traveling in absurd and unsafe homemade rafts. Marino’s sculpture can be seen to represent the resourcefulness of the Cuban people, a respect for their past, and a symbol of hope for his people marching forward.
This is the second edition of the car. The first version was installed for the Havana Biennial in 2003 and has become an iconic image from the Biennial. Marino was unable to take the sculpture out of Cuba after the exhibition and it was subsequently destroyed. This second version was commissioned in 2010 by the Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburg, PA and subsequently acquired by 21c Museum in January 2011. 21c is pleased to present The Raft in conjunction with the exhibition Cuba Now, currently showing at 21c Museum through September 2011.