Fall 2007 Issue

The Cuban Identity

Barry’s University’s Institute for Hispanic/Latino Theology and Ministry, hosted a lecture and art exhibit on March 23 titled “Cuban Identity: Religion, Philosophy and Art” thanks to a special grant from the Marie V. Gendron Foundation.

More than 300 guests attended the exhibit and lecture, the first of three major events the Institute will host over the next two years. The event was organized around an ongoing conversation among four Cubans about various interests on the issues of Cuban identity.

As part of the event, Dr. Bernardo Cantens, associate professor of philosophy at Barry, and Dr. Michelle A. Gonzalez, author and assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Miami, each presented lectures that focused on Cuban identity as it relates to religion, philosophy and the arts. It also presented the opportunity for Cantens and Gonzalez to integrate the work of internationally known Cuban artists, Laura Luna and Alejandro Mendoza, into their lectures. The opening of an art exhibit featuring many of the artists’ works took place following the lectures.

“Two artists, a philosopher and a theologian developed a unique partnership and collaborated in innovative ways to produce a very creative event,” said the Rev. Jorge Presmanes, OP, director of the institute and assistant professor of theology.

Barry’s Department of Theology and Philosophy established the Institute for Hispanic/Latino Theology and Ministry to meet the needs of the university’s diverse student population, South Florida’s many religious faiths and the emerging new demographics of U.S. Catholic and Protestant churches.

“Our Cuban Identity event allows Barry University and the Department of Theology and Philosophy to communicate our deep interest in serving the Latino communities and the Church at large,” said Father Mark Wedig, OP, chair of the Department of Theology and Philosophy “This has been part of the strategic plan of the Theology and Philosophy Department for some time.”