(b. Havana, Cuba, 1959).
José Bedia Valdez studied in the Escuela de Artes Plasticas San Alejandro and the Instituto Superior de Arte both in Havana, Cuba. In 1985 he visited the United States, became an Artist-in-residence at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and spent time on the Rosebud Reservation of Sioux Dakota. His stay at the Reservation exemplifies his interest in native American cultures and religious practices, as well as the culture and beliefs that has developed from a colonized society. His work is a mixture of media as well as culture. He mainly draws upon Cuban, Afro-Cuban, and native and tribal beliefs to fuel his work that speaks of the alternate cosmology and world-view or these people. His work also deals with the colonized experience in general. He uses historical facts such as the "discovery" of America by Chistopher Colombus to criticize the First World’s role in the Third World, as well as the occluded knowledges it has chosen to discard.
osé Bedia has participated in numerous exhibitions throughout the world including: "Cuba Siglo XX: Modernidad y Sincretismo" at the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Spain; "Defining the Nineties: Consensus-making in New York, Miami and Los Angeles", Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL; inSITE '94, San Diego/Tijuana; Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil; "Latin American Artists of the XXth Century", Museum of Modern Art, New York and "Magiciens de la Terre", Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France among others. Solo shows include: "Crónicas americanas" at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Monterrey, Mexico and "Jose Bedia: De donde vengo" a travelling exhibition presented at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Center for the Fine Arts, Miami and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. His work is included in several public collections like the Ludwig Forum fur International Kunst, Aachen, Germany; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.
In this 2001 interview, Bill Kelley Jr speaks to Bedia about his interest in Amerindian traditions and the syncretic spaces found in contemporary art.