Created in 1974, Wifredo Lam's Pleni Luna series consists of lithographs that explore themes of mythology and Afro-Cuban culture. Through intricate lines and vibrant colours, Lam evokes a dreamlike world, reflecting his unique artistic vision and cultural heritage.

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Meaning & Analysis

The Pleni Luna series by Wifredo Lam, produced in 1974, represents a profound synthesis of the artist's diverse influences and his commitment to exploring themes of identity, mythology, and the supernatural. Lam, a Cuban artist of Chinese, African, and Spanish descent, was deeply influenced by Surrealism and Afro-Cuban culture, which is vividly reflected in this series.

The series comprises ten lithographs, each characterised by Lam's distinctive style of abstract, otherworldly figures rendered in vibrant, dreamlike hues. The titles of the individual artworks, such as Arbre De Plumes and Demoiselle Blasonnee, suggest a fusion of natural and mystical elements. These works are imbued with a sense of movement and fluidity, as seen in the curved lines and organic forms that populate each print.

Lam's use of lithography allows for a delicate layering of colours and textures, enhancing the ethereal quality of the images. The prints often feature overlapping shapes and intricate patterns, creating a sense of depth. This technique is particularly effective in conveying the mystical and ritualistic aspects of Lam's work, drawing viewers into a world that feels dream-like and fantastical.

Lam's figures in this series often resemble totemic beings or mythical creatures, reflecting his interest in Afro-Cuban religion and the Surrealist fascination with the unconscious mind. The moon, a recurring symbol in the series, is associated with femininity, and transformation, further emphasising the themes of change and spiritual awakening.

Lam's work in Pleni Luna can be seen as a continuation of his lifelong exploration of identity and cultural hybridity. By merging elements of his Afro-Cuban heritage with European modernist techniques, Lam creates a unique visual language that speaks to the complexities of the postcolonial experience. His art challenges viewers to reconsider conventional notions of identity and culture, offering a richer, more nuanced perspective.