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colonial blindness

As a Cuban exile who grew up in the US, Magda Fernandez was always perplexed by her family’s blindness to the inequities that ignited the Cuban revolution. She attributes their myopia to their colonial mindset that never softened or changed. In the allegorical video, "colonial blindness" (2011-2015), Fernandez performs as Cuba’s first colonial financier, Queen Isabella I of Spain, and as her mother. In the video, Queen Isabella, who in real life never visited Cuba, claims Cuba for herself, and presents the colonial social contract to Fernandez’s mother, who agrees to the problematic quid pro quo. The victims of this agreement, Cuba’s annihilated Taino Amerindians and transplanted African slaves, respectively represented in the video by a Maquetaurie Guayaba (Lord of the Dead) figurine and a Cuban Madama spirit doll, in turn haunt future generations with the weight of this terrible legacy. Fernandez’s video is a call to connect the dots, to confront and expose this troubled legacy in one’s own family history, as a first step towards ending colonialism’s long reach.

  • Magda Fernandez
  • Film Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 43 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 31, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, HDV
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • London Independent Film Awards
    United Kingdom
    October 2017 Best Experimental Short
  • International New York Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    2017 Silver Award - Experimental Category
  • La Cubana y el Cubano
    Boston, MA
    United States
    September 10, 2016
  • Projections
    Boston, MA
    United States
    March 14, 2016
Director Biography - Magda Fernandez

Magda Fernandez is a Cuban-born, Boston-based artist who has been creating experimental videos since 2006. Fernandez creates silent, synthetic worlds that speak loudly about power and oppression, reality and fantasy, memory and history. Fernandez's videos received Honorable Mentions in the LA Underground Film Forum, and were Official Selections in the Experimental Forum in Los Angeles, the South Film and Arts Academy Festival in Chile, the 5 Continents International Film Festival in Venezuela (FICOCC), the New York International Film Festival (INYFF), the London Independent Film Award (LIFA), and the Sydney World Film Festival. She received both the Experimental Forum's Best Experimental Short and the Audience Award (2018), FICOCC's Best Video Art Award (June 2018), INYFF's Silver Experimental Award (2018), and LIFA's Best Experimental Award (October 2017). Fernandez’s videos have been exhibited in “Nine Moments for Now” at the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art at Harvard University, “STAND UP” at Kayafas Gallery, "latinx@americanaza" at Samson Gallery, and in "La Cubana y El Cubano" at the Copley Society. In 2010, Fernandez was invited to present her videos-in-progress at Ute Meta Bauer and Joan Jonas' Art, Culture, and Technology Lectures Series: "The Theatrical/The Performative/The Transformative" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. Fernandez has received grants from the Council for the Arts at MIT, and was a past finalist for both the Cintas Foundation Fellowship and Creative Capital Visual Arts Grant.


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