Exploring the Latino Metropolis: A Brief Urban Cultural History of US Latinos

Literature, Theatre, and Art

Poster for Nilo Cruz's play, Anna in the Tropics, courtesy McCarter Theatre Center

Perhaps contrary to any outside preconceptions, most Latino writers write in English, or at the very least in heavily English-skewed Spanglish. It is rarer for a more even bilingualism to shine through in popular literature. This is because for many first- and second-generation Cuban-Americans, Spanish is often the first language, but English is the primary language, the “linguistic home (Firmat).”

Cuban-American writers and poets from Miami and South Florida include:

Richard Blanco - Poet and Author
Nilo Cruz - Playwright
Carlos Eire - Author and Scholar
Roberto G. Fernandez - Author
Maria Irene Fornes - Playwright
Ana Menendez - Author and Journalist
Carlos Pintado - Playwright and Poet
Jorge Reyes - Author and Essayist
Virgil Suarez - Poet and Author
Jose Yglesias - Author and Journalist

Nilo Cruz is one of the better known Miami Cuban playwrights of this day. His most famous play, Anna in the Tropics, won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2003 despite never having been seen in New York prior to the win. For this, it was dubbed a long-shot. Anna in the Tropics is the story of Cuban immigrants in Florida who migrated with the cigar industry; there are parallels with Anna Karenina and even features some snippets of the classic Russian novel. It is currently slated to be produced as a Hollywood film (McCarter). 



While there is no visual art movement specific to Miami, it is soon going to become one of the world's hubs for Latino art. Gary Nader, a Dominican-Lebanese resident of Miami, is in the process of opening what will be the largest Latino art gallery in the world - filled largely with a collection he has been building himself over the last 30 years. He moved to Miami for the purpose of founding this institution, the Nader Latin American Art Museum (or NaderLAAM) which will open its doors in 2018 (NBC).

Among other iconic Latino and Latin American artists, it will feature the largest collection of Botero pieces. "The idea has always been to promote [Latin American Art] and let the people know what's been happening in Latin America," the founder has said. "I strongly believe the story of Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Botero, Mata, Lam, Tamayo, the great ones, is untold (NBC)."

In a video he published on his YouTube channel, Gary Nader showed a rudimentary floor plan for the museum, which includes wings for both masters and upcoming contemporary Latino and Latin American artists. The architect of the museum himself will be Latino (NBC). While Miami has not yet seen an artistic Latino renaissance, perhaps the NaderLAAM is what will spur one.


(From top left to bottom right) Botero, Kahlo, Rivera, Tamayo, Lam, Matta



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