ARTISTS

 

CUBAN ARTISTS

Juan Vicente Rodríguez Bonachea

Luis Enrique Camejo Vento

Juan Roberto Diago Durruthy

Gustavo Díaz Sosa

Nelson Dominguez Cedeño

Ernesto Fernández Nogueras

José Rodríguez Fuster

Sándor González Vilar

Javier Guerra Fernández

William Hernández Silva

Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho)

Rigoberto Mena Santana

Manuel Mendive Hoyos



Michel Mirabal Martínez

Liborio Noval Barbera

René de Jesús Peña González

Rafael Pérez Alonso

Ernesto Rancaño Vieites

Eduardo Roca Salazar (Choco)

Juan Arel Ruíz Contino

Roberto Salas Merino

Lidia Esther Aguilera Sanchez

Liudmila Ivella Velasco and
Nelson Ramírez de Arellano

Lesbia Vent Dumois

Manuel Comas







Juan Vicente Rodríguez Bonachea

He is a painter, illustrator, engraver, and a creator of worlds and animated beings in a space and time arbitrarily created by the impressive drive of his imagination. He was born on 8th March, 1957 in the city of Havana, Cuba.

He graduated in 1976 from the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas San Alejandro, Havana. He taught design and drawing at the Instituto Politécnico de Diseño Industrial and at the Paulita Concepción Elementary School of Art.

Bonachea reveals the cosmogony of strange events in the tangled reality of his prints. His works are other-worldly, embodying a contemplative sense of magic in which the viewer’s gaze is completely captured.

He has received several awards including two from the NOMA competition in Tokyo, Japan and another from the magazine Plural de México. He has illustrated more than ten books, both in Cuba and abroad. PHOTO: www.lajiribilla.cu


Luis Enrique Camejo Vento

He is a contemporary Cuban artist born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, 19th January 1971. He graduated from Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana in 1996.

He has a great interest in the immediate, fleeting relationship between man and his environment. He recreates images of the city that resemble parts of Havana. His cities are cosmopolitan and pluralistic spaces in which movement, the dynamics of the urban environment, and the immediacy of life dominate.

The urban landscape and the relationship between humans and their environment is realised through the use of light and colour, to evoke the fast pace of modern times.

He has been the recipient of major honours and awards throughout his career, such as Mención in the Salón de Artes Plásticas de Pinar del Rio and first prize in V Certamen de Pintura Nicomedes García Gómez in Segovia, Spain. PHOTO: www.cubarte.cult.cu


Juan Roberto Diago Durruthy

He is one of Cuba’s most important contemporary artists. His paintings, sought after by collectors all over the world, are distinguished by their highly conceptual nature which the artist uses to imbue his work with great symbolic meaning.  He was born in 1971 in Havana, Cuba.

Juan Roberto Diago, grandson of the Cuban painter Urfé, graduated from the Academia de Bellas Artes San Alejandro in 1991 and at present he is a member of the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC).

One of the most constant and influential themes in his work is slavery. He looks for real, meaningful issues and tackles them. He works with recycled materials found in his neighbourhood: glass bottles, wood, rusted iron etc.

His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) in Paris. He has also received major awards throughout his career such as the  Premio Salón de Pintura Contemporánea  ‘Juan Francisco Elso’ (1995) awarded by the Museum of Fine Arts in Havana and the Prix Amédée Maratier (1999) awarded by the French Foundation ‘Kikoíne’ (he was the first artist from Latin America to win this prize).

Collections of his work can be found all over the world in countries including the USA, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Monaco and Chile. PHOTO: © Pedro Perez Sarduy


Gustavo Díaz Sosa

Born on 20th July 1983, in Sagua la Grande, Cuba, Díaz Sosa is a young artist who has worked intensively in the art world. He held his first solo exhibition at the age of 12 in his local art centre. He graduated with honours from the Academia Nacional de Bellas Arte San Alejandro in 2002, where he then became a lecturer in the art department.  In 2004, he received an art residency scholarship from the Arteleku Studios in San Sebastián, and has lived in Spain ever since, moving to Madrid in 2008.

The work of this artist reaches into his past and picks up seemingly abandoned motifs, using the remains of organic materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera.

Díaz Sosa has collaborated in various collective projects, creating  a series of murals in Cuba, as well as animation, photography, film and television projects in Spain. He participated in the inaugural exhibition of The Chapel of Man, in tribute to the painter Oswaldo Guayasamín in Quito, Ecuador. Currently exhibiting at the Honfleur Gallery in Washington DC, over the past year he has had other solo shows in Spain, France, Italy and Cuba. His work has also been displayed in group exhibitions in the US, Germany, Spain, Portugal, France, Dublin, and elsewhere.

He has received many major awards and honours, most recently Premio GO (2010) from the Galería Anquins y Caixa Penedé  and the Premio Pintura de Gran Formato Ejercito de Tierra Espana (2010) His website is www.gustavodiazsosa.comPHOTO: Ana Gutiérrez Rodríquez.



Nelson Dominguez Cedeño

He is a painter, engraver and ceramist and a prominent Cuban plastic artist. He was born in Baire, Santiago de Cuba on 23rd September 1947. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Arte Cubanacán (1965-1970), where he was a professor (1970-1985).

His academic training is evidence of the opportunities that the art education system fostered by the Revolution gave in helping him develop his talent.

From the most pure and innocent roots, he began to address the rural world, with humour, gentleness and real poetry. He manages to combine a variety of techniques in his work, using different materials such as clay, glass, wood, metal, fabric and paper to convey a single message. This is because he has always held the view that what matters in art is not to stick ‘blindly’ to a single line of creation, but to try to find the way in which certain techniques interrelate with each other.

He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Cuba, Spain, France, Greece, Mexico and the United States, where his works are treasured by private collectors and by cultural and social institutions alike.

He has the Order for National Culture, the Alejo Carpentier Order, and the Diploma and Order of Honour from the Fuji Museum of Japan and many other awards as well as the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas (2009). PHOTO: www.cubarte.cult.cu


Ernesto Fernández Nogueras

Fernández is a photographer and journalist. He was born in Havana on 11th November 1939. He studied photography from 1952 to 1958 with photographers Carlos Fernández, Generoso Funcasta, Raúl Vales and José Agraz. In 1979 he graduated from the University of Havana with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

He is an example of the classic photographers of the Cuban Revolution who extensively covered the most emblematic period of the revolutionary process. Before the victory of the Revolution, he became committed to capturing the real Cuba; he was the first photographer to arrive in the operational zone during the Bay of Pigs invasion; he photographed Fidel Castro and Che Guevara; his coverage of the war in the Escambray mountains had no equal; and he later travelled to Angola and Nicaragua to capture the Cuban involvement in those conflicts.

Most recently Fernández is the recipient of the prestigious National Prize for Visual Arts 2011 [Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas 2011] in Cuba in honour of the breadth and quality of his work.


José Rodríguez Fuster

Fuster’s artistic work has developed mainly in the area of applied arts, although he is also involved in painting, printmaking, and ceramics. He was born in August 1946 in Villa Clara, Cuba.

In the sixties he studied at the Escuela Nacional de Instructores de Arte (ENIA). He served as consultant to several art research institutes and is an artist, teacher and curator. He is a member of the Association of Cuban Craftsmen and Artists (ACAA).

He has been part of several solo and group exhibitions throughout his prolific career. His pieces can be found in institutions such as the Centre for Cuban Studies, New York, the Ceramics Museum, Castillo de la Real Fuerza in Havana, Cuba and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Cuba. He has been honoured with several awards most notably the IV Salón Nacional Juvenil de Artes Plásticas prize (1974). PHOTO: www.ecured.cu


Sándor González Vilar

He was born in Havana in 16th January, 1977 and became an artist in 1994. In 2000, he graduated from the Academia de Artes Plásticas de San Alejandro, specialising in etching.  He now gives special workshops at the Academy.

Through drawing in black and white, which has allowed him to explore the possibilities of contrast that both offer, his works highlight the anguish of modern man, as a prisoner of his own individuality. The recurring themes in his work of floating cities, burning towers, ghostly inhabitants and imaginary architecture, are always thought-provoking. González Vilar has practiced tattooing since 1993, and has illustrated magazines, designed album covers, worked on textile designs and in film. He has participated in about 40 murals since 2006, including El Arca de la Libertad located at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana.

This artist has participated in over 70 solo and group exhibitions in Cuba, France, Canada, Spain, Dominican Republic, South Africa and Ecuador. His works form part of private collections in the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Bolivia and elsewhere, as well as in institutions in Cuba, Spain, and Italy.

González Vilar is a member of the Hermanos Saíz Association of Young Writers and Artists. He was a founding member of the ‘Martha Machado’ artists’ brigade (2008-2010) established by Kcho to create art alongside fellow Cubans who experienced the devastating effects of the 2008 hurricanes. PHOTO: Courtesy of artist



Javier Guerra Fernández

He was born in Havana, 1969 and graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas.

From 1983 began to exhibit individually and collectively in Cuba and countries such as USA, Spain, Venezuela, Italy, France, Dominican Republic and Ecuador.

He has won numerous awards and mentions in national exhibitions. He has made posters for the Cultural Centre of Spain in Havana and designs for discs for EGREM, the musical recording and publishing company.  He has participated in a range of commemorative murals. His works appear as illustrations in publications such as La Gaceta de Cuba, El Caimán Barbudo and the Granma newspaper.

In his work, Javier Guerra pays homage to the figures of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and José Martí.  PHOTO: Courtesy of artist


William Hernández Silva

Hernández Silva was born in Colon, Cuba in 1971 and graduated from the National Art School (ENA) in Havana in 1990. He is a member of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC). The artist is a painter, printmaker, sculptor, and his artistic practice is a mixture of these techniques. Cuban professor of art Carina Pino-Santos has commented on how his art presents ‘a recombination of events, graphic signs, and imagined features of bygone historical styles’, alongside the same elements found in the immediate present. ‘The art of William is the counterpoint. He slides down the styles, the parody, but the carnival is subtle, nothing sharp, but graceful […]’.

Hernández Silva has participated in over 150 individual and group exhibitions within and outside Cuba. Internationally his work has been exhibited in Puerto Rico, Columbia, Spain, Japan, Cambodia, Canada, Panama, Malaysia, Vietnam, the US and elsewhere. More recently he exhibited in Portugal in a solo show entitled Infinite Landscape (2010). He has won recognition for his work, including the prize for the Encuentro Nacional de Grabado at the Wifredo Lam Centre (2001). In addition to private collections, his works are held by public galleries around the world such as Casa de las Americas in Havana; the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach, California; the headquarters of the Post Office in Bern, Switzerland and the Holy See in the Vatican. He is represented by the International Gallery in Washington DC.

Website:  http://www.williamhdez.com


Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho)

Today considered to be Cuba’s most well-known and recognised visual artist and the most internationally renowned after Wifredo Lam. He was born on 12th February1970 in Isla de la Juventud, Cuba.

He graduated in 1986 from the  Escuela Elemental de Arte in Nueva Gerona, Isla de la Juventud and in 1990, from the Escuela Nacional de Arte de Cuba (ENA), specialising in drawing and painting. In 1994 he received a Fellowship from the Ludwig Foundation in Aachen, Germany.

His international recognition has enabled him to attract the attention of some of the most important critics, collectors and galleries in the world. His work is highly symbolic and conceptual, usually made with waste and recyclable items (known worldwide as Arte Povera), inviting many different interpretations.

Using a coherent artistic language, his work not only addresses the issue of migration on a global scale, but everything connected to this social phenomenon, which is as old as mankind itself.

His works are in private and public collections all over the world. He has received awards and honours, most notably the Distinction for National Culture (1998) and the Abel Santamaría Medal (2003).

He is currently a representative in the National Assembly of Popular Power in Cuba. PHOTO: www.cubarte.cult.cu


Rigoberto Mena Santana

Mena is a noted Cuban painter, born on 6th October 1961 in Artemisa, Havana. He studied at the Escuela Superior Técnica de Diseño  e Información where he graduated in 1987.

He is noted as one of the contemporary creators of Cuba’s rich legacy in the visual arts.

The expressive power of Mena's style comes from his ability to invent a range of intense colours cleverly put together in appealing forms. His repertoire involves the extensive use of ink. He offers intense ochre, tones of Carmelite and yellow, arriving at black and flaming red or erotic waves embodied in diverse skins.

He has had numerous solo and collective exhibitions in Cuba, United States, Mexico, Germany, France, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, Spain, Canada, England and elsewhere.

He has participated in issues of Subastahabana, in the Havana Biennials, in Salónes de Arte Contemporanáneo de Cuba, and in provincial and national exhibitions. His work is held in institutional and private collections in Cuba, United States, Germany, Mexico, England, and elsewhere. PHOTO: www.ecured.cu


Manuel Mendive Hoyos

A prominent visual artist and one of Cuba’s most internationally renowned artists. He was born in Havana on 15th December 1944. He graduated from the Academia de Bellas Artes San Alejandro in 1962. He also completed studies at the Department of Ethnology and Folklore in the Cuban Academy of Sciences, and in Art History at the Faculty of Humanities in the University of Havana’s School of Arts.

A real ‘Cuban’ painter, with a strong focus on Cuba’s African roots, especially the Yoruba pantheon, the artist combines different techniques, styles and colours using various media and textures: canvas, wood, animal skins and even the human body, giving free rein to the creative expression  of his extraordinary myths and pictorial narratives.

His works have been exhibited countless times around the world and are represented in 14 collections of major museums in New York. He received the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas  (2001). He is a member of the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) and the International Association of Plastic Artists (AIAP). Among the other acknowledgements he has received are the Orden Caballero de las Artes y las Letras from the French Ministry of Culture and the Orden Félix Varela from the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba. PHOTO: www.ecured.cu


Michel Mirabal Martínez

He was born in Havana in 1970. He is an artist who uses symbols as the basis for exploring the fantastical without focusing too much on realism.

His training as a designer has influenced his work allowing him to create synthetic, slightly flat pieces, using a considerable amount of stained glass, grilles, wood and balconies that open out onto courtyards, columns with impressive capitals and well-drawn shafts. He mixes the cultural traditions of his country with his own personal experiences, creating a system of symbols of national identity which are both private and conscious:  Eleggua (from the Yoruba pantheon), the music, the columns, the clotheslines, the reference to the Cuban flag.

His paintings reflect a certain way of perceiving reality, illustrating not only everyday activities, but also the sensitive nature of the relationship between man and nature, man and his surroundings and man and the space he occupies. In fact, the city is established as a dominant space in his work.

He has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Cuba and the world throughout his career as an artist. His creative work received First Prize in Visual Arts Rockefeller Fellowship, New York, USA. PHOTO: Facebook, Michel Mirabal


Liborio Noval Barbera

Noval is a Cuban photographer, distinguished for his ‘photo essays’ illustrating events pertaining to Cuban’s revolutionary history and its leaders, especially Fidel Castro. He was born in Havana on 29th January, 1934.

He worked in the early fifties in the advertising industry, where he discovered his passion for the art of photography. He pursued this activity alongside other tasks of a clandestine nature organised by the July 26 Movement.

After the creation of the newspaper Granma in 1965, the official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba, Noval got involved with its team of photographers in order to provide an eye witness account of the most important political, economic, social and cultural events in Cuba. He stayed with Granma until his retirement in the 90s.

As a photo-journalist, he participated in most of the political events of the country and accompanied the main Cuban leaders in a variety of missions on the national and international agenda. He dedicated himself completely to capturing with his lens the epic nature of these major historical events.

Undoubtedly, his intense professional commitment makes him one of the most noted Cuban photographers in recent history. He founded the photography section of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) in 1961, as well as the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC).

Noval has won prizes and awards in both national and international competitions. His work has been critically acclaimed in many solo and group exhibitions; his work has also been displayed in Cuba and abroad. He has received major awards including the Premio Nacional de Periodismo and the Alejo Carpentier Medal from the Ministry of Culture, both in 2002. PHOTO:  www.cubarte.cult.cu


René de Jesús Peña González

He is a photographer, with a degree in English Language from the Instituto Superior Pedagógico de Lenguas Extranjeras (ISPLE). He was born in Havana on 2nd January 1957.

He became involved in the world of photography in Cuba in late 1980, putting himself at the forefront of new trends in Cuban photography from 1990, primarily focusing on internal spaces and domestic life in Cuba at the time. He then began to delve deeper into the subject of his own body, exploring through self-portraits major themes such as black identity, sexual ambiguity and the influence of consumerism and the market.

The inspiration for his series came from an exploration which was conceptually, formally and structurally different to any previously established parameters, ranging from brutal expressionism to marked homoeroticism, with strong mystical elements, trends in plastic experimentation and some theatrical staging.

His photographs are held in permanent collections in Cuba, USA, Italy, Germany and Belgium. He has received major awards in recognition of his photographic work. PHOTO: www.ecured.cu


Rafael Pérez Alonso

Rafael Pérez Alonso was born in Havana in 1965 and is a self-taught artist. He specialises in charcoal drawing and prefers to evoke rather than represent reality in photographic style. He also disassociates himself with the traditional markers of ‘Cubanness’ - namely colour and landscape – in order to immerse us in another sense of Cubaness: his images are reinforced by the materials he uses, they dignify the humility of the cartridge paper he draws on and when he frames his works with the rustic mouldings of eaten-away pine, which enriches the humble wood, he commits an act of faith.

Rafael Perez Alonso has had short but substantial career, participating in collective exhibitions in Cuba and other countries, among them the travelling show Yo sé de un pintor gigante, to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of José Martí, Four Cuban Artists, in Costa Rica, alongside three indispensible names in Cuban art today: José Manuel Fors, Ibrahim Miranda y Alexis Leyva (Kcho), and at the Instituto Cervantes in London, as well as solo exhibitions including Endémico at the National Council for Plastic Arts in Cuba.

In 2002, he received a prestigious award for drawing, the Gran Premio en el Salón de la Ciudad, in Havana, from the Centro Provincial de Artes Plásticas y Diseño (Provincial Centre for Plastic Arts and Design). PHOTO: Courtesy of artist


Ernesto Rancaño Vieites

He was born in Havana on 21st September 1968. He graduated in 1991 from the Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Alejandro, specialising in painting and drawing. He has been a member of the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) since 1995.

Possessing a prolific and diverse body of work, he has made incursions into drawing, painting and sculpture with pieces that provoke different emotions: calm or fright, uncertainty or clarity, pain or pleasure.

His works are held in permanent collections in Panama, Mexico, Jamaica and Spain. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions and was awarded First Prize in the Concurso de Carteles, sponsored and organised by the CETSS in Havana, Cuba. PHOTO: Pedro Abascal


Eduardo Roca Salazar (Choco)

Known as Choco, a nickname his classmates gave him this after his arrival in Havana as a child because of his resemblance to a boxer from Santiago de Cuba of the same name. He was born in Santiago de Cuba on 13th October 1949.

In 1970 he graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA) and did a teacher training course in San Alejandro. He joined the department of painting at San Alejandro and the Escuela Nacional de Arte, where he helped shape the study programme.

An eminent draftsman and engraver affiliated to the new figurative art movement and faithful to its principles, his work focuses on the faces of peasants and Afro Cuban women, the architecture of the heads, creating convincing revelations with complex lines through the vigour of his strokes and textures.

He has had numerous solo exhibitions and a great deal of his past work has been exhibited in Spain, Japan, USA, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Canada, among other countries. Alongside some of these exhibitions, he has given workshops on the ‘colography’ technique that allows the use of various materials together. He has received multiple awards and commendations in recognition of his creative work. PHOTO: © Pedro Pérez Sarduy


Juan Arel Ruíz Contino

He was born 26th June 1963 in Cárdenas, Matanzas, Cuba.

He studied painting, drawing and printmaking at elementary, intermediate and advanced levels, graduating in painting at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana in 1988.

He has given courses, lectures and master classes in painting and design at the Instituto Superior Pedagógico Juan Marinello in Matanzas and at the Escuela Vocacional de Artes Plásticas in Cárdenas.

His work has been used to decorate recreational and tourist centres throughout the country. He has collaborated on a project using works of art which have been donated to decorate institutions in his native Matanzas, most notably  the Jagüey Grande ‘Miguel Sandarán’ school, one of ten which form part of the Our América ‘Bello Amanecer’ programme for the development of students.

His works are in private collections in different countries in Europe, America and Asia, principally in private collections in Portugal and Spain. The Cuban Gallery at the Museum of Austria has one of his works.

He has been a member of the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) since 1990. PHOTO: courtesy of the artist


Roberto Salas Merino

He is a photographer of great national and international recognition. He was born in the Bronx, New York, on 16th November, 1940.

He studied photography with his father, Osvaldo Salas, and at the age of 15, he did his first work for the El Imparcial newspaper in New York.

In 1959 he settled in Havana and joined the Revolution newspaper and the magazine Cuba. He was a contributor to the magazine Bohemia and founder of the newspaper Granma. He was a United Nations correspondent and founder of the news agency Prensa Latina (New York Office).

He was photographer for the Press Office of the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Cuba and responsible for public relations at the National Institute of Tourism. He toured several countries as a special envoy.

His works have been exhibited in more than twenty exhibition spaces in major cities in Asia, Africa, Europe and America, and are part of major public and private collections worldwide.

He has won more than one hundred national and international awards and mentions. For six consecutive years (1991-1996) he won the International Photography Exhibition Prize of Tokyo and in 1995 he won the Medalla Gaudi award in the Salón de Premiados de Reus, Spain. He was selected Photographer of the Year (1972) by the New Times magazine in Russia. He also holds the AFIAP title, International Artist of the Federación Internacional de Arte Fotográfico, of which he was a representative in the Caribbean.

He is a founding member of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) and the Union of Journalists of Cuba (UPEC), and honorary member of the Cuban Fund of the Photographic Image (FCIF). PHOTO: © www.ecured.cu


Lidia Esther Aguilera Sanchez

Lidia Esther Aguilera Sanchez was born in Santiago de Cuba and attended the Escuela de Talla Clara Zetkin and later studied at the Artes Plásticas de San Alejandro. She is a member of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists and the Asociación Internacional de Artistas Plástica de la UNESCO (AIAP).  Aguilera  Sanchez was a founding member of the Asociación Cubana de Artesanos y Artistes (ACAA) and a member of its National Council.

Noted Cuban author Miguel Barnet has commented how ‘Wood, canvas, metals and alloys are ennobled in the hands of this artist. With her genius she discovers areas and regions of the spirit that nobody has seen,  enriching our world view.’

The artist has had more than 30 national and international solo exhibitions and has participated in over 100 group shows. She has received over 50 awards and recognitions for her work including the Orden de la Cultura Nacional, Havana (1996).  Aguilera Sanchez is noted in the Registro de Personalidades de la Cultura Cubana. Her work is held in numerous private and public collections around the world in Jamaica, France, Nicaragua, Mexico, Spain, Canada, China, Brazil, Italy, Switzerland, the US and elsewhere. PHOTO: www.fortunecity.com/marina/bay/332


Liudmila Ivella Velasco and
Nelson Ramírez de Arellano

Liudmila Velasco and Nelson Ramírez de Arellano (b. Moscow and Berlin in 1969) are a collaborative husband-and-wife team known for their cutting-edge conceptual photography.

The photographs from the series Absolut Revolution represent several thematic and technical directions in the artists' work. Their starting point is the monument to José Martí, the writer laureate and revolutionary hero who fought for Cuba's independence from Spain (1898). The surrounding plaza, originally known as the Plaza Cívica José Martí, was renamed Plaza de La Revolución José Martí after the 1959 revolution. The monument and the plaza have become the quintessential symbols of both revolutions.

Liudmila and Nelson have been working together in Havana since 1994. They have had solo exhibitions in the main shows in the Eighth and Tenth Havana Biennials (2003, 2009), where they showed their most recent project Hotel Havana, and the International Biennial of Cuenca, Ecuador (1998-99).  

The artists have participated in many national and international group shows and their work is in important collections like the MUDAM (Luxemburg), the WestLicht Photography Museum in Vienna, Latin American Lehigh University Collection and the Fototeca de Cuba. PHOTO: © http://www.liudmilanelson.com


Lesbia Vent Dumois

Lesbia Vent Dumois was born on 6th November 1932 in Cruces, Cienfuegos. Her work includes illustration, painting and engraving.  Vent Dumois studied at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas Leopoldo Romañch  in Las Villas, and in 1961 she won a fellowship from UNESCO to study lithography in Prague. 

She has served as Director of Fine Arts at Casa de las Américas in Havana and as curator of its Colección Arte de Nuestra América Haydee Santamaría. She was a founding member of the Escuela Nacional de Arte, and her drawings and engravings can be found in books used in its first preparatory courses for art instructors. She has also taught and sat on the examination board at the Escuela de Artes y Letras de la Universidad de la Habana  and the Instituto Superior de Arte.

She has participated in many conferences within Cuba and across Latin America and Europe. In 2010, Vent Dumois became an Emeritus member of the Cuban Writers and Artists Union, of which she was a founding member.  Amongst various other positions both in Cuba and more widely in Latin America, she is an executive member of the Asociación de Artes Plásticas and of UNESCO’s Comité de la Asociación Internacional de Artes Plásticas in Cuba, and has been vice president of the Executive Committee for the Latin America region.  She has had many solo exhibitions and group exhibitions throughout Latin America and the world including in Portugal, United States, Japan, Russia, Poland, Italy, Jamaica and Canada and her works are held in collections worldwide.Her awards and prizes include the Distinción por la Cultura Nacional (1988), and the Medalla Alejo Carpentier (1996) and the Orden Juan Marinello (1996) both awarded by the Council of State.  In 2001 she was awarded the Diploma al Mérito Artistico by the Instituto Superior de Arte. PHOTO: www.cubarte.cult.cu


Biographies of Cuban artists provided by the

National Council of Visual Arts (CNAP).



Contributing artists


Sam Ainsley

Sam Ainsley studied at the Edinburgh College of Art.  She is an artist and a teacher, gaining prominence as a lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art which she joined in 1981. She taught the environmental art course before embarking on what she has called her ‘life time project’, the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) course. She has taught at numerous institutions worldwide and is an external adviser to many MFA courses at other institutions. In 1998 she was appointed to the Council of the Scottish Arts.  

Ainsley has a strong commitment to public art. One of her best known exhibitions was staged in Glasgow in 1987 where she created monumental Warrior Women on the gallery walls that were seen as a riposte to the macho and melancholy art of the period.  Ainsley has exhibited widely including in the UK, US, Australia, and Europe. Her work is held in numerous collections including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow; and the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow.

PHOTO:  Alan Dimmock



Rasheed Araeen

Rasheed Araeen was born in Pakistan and studied civil engineering at the University of Karachi. He moved to Britain in 1964 and lives in London where he works as an artist, writer, curator and inventor.  His training as an engineer influenced his pioneering Minimalism of the 1960s. Although initially engaging with a heavy industrial aesthetic, his later sculpture included modular compositions of open cubic structures. He works in other media including drawing, painting, photography and performance. In the 1970s he was among the first cultural theorists to argue that African, Asian and Latin American artists were underrepresented in British collections. After becoming active in various groups supporting liberation struggles, democracy and human rights he turned to writing, publishing his own art journals: Black Phoenix (1978), Third Text (1987) and Third Text Asia (2008). A special issue of Third Text on Cuba was published in 1992.  In 1999 he described Third Text as an attempt to “demolish the boundaries that separate art from criticism”. His recently published book Art Beyond Art (2010) addresses issues of ecoaesthetics. He is currently working on a project that will result in a comprehensive and inclusive history of art in postwar Britain, The Whole Story: Art in Postwar Britain. His curatorial work includes The Essential Black Art (Chisenhale Gallery, 1988) and The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain (Hayward Gallery, 1989). Solo exhibitions include White Power, Black Sexuality (Pentonville Gallery, 1986), From modernism to postmodernism: Rasheed Araeen:  retrospective: 1959-1987 (Ikon Gallery, 1987), Rasheed Araeen (South London Gallery, 1994) and most recently Before and Beyond Minimalism: Drawings, Painting, Sculpture and Concepts, 1959 – 1974 (Aicon Gallery, 2010), which focused on his early artistic practice in Pakistan and London. He has featured in various group exhibitions including From Two Worlds: Sixteen Artists of Non-European Background (Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1986) and more recently Modern British Sculpture (Royal Academy of Arts, 2011). In the UK his work is held in the Tate Collection. PHOTO: Socrates Mitsios

Third Text website: http://www.thirdtext.com/



Robert Ballagh

Robert Ballagh was born in Dublin in 1943. He studied architecture and worked as an engineering draftsman, a musician and a postman before taking up painting in 1967. His paintings are held in many important collections including the National Gallery of Ireland, the Ulster Museum, the Hugh Lane Municipal and the Albrecht Durer House, Nuremberg. He is equally established as a designer, having designed some seventy stamps for the Irish Post Office and the final series of Irish banknotes before the introduction of the Euro. His theatrical designs include Riverdance, Stephen Berkoff's production of Oscar Wilde's Salome, and Beckett's Endgame for the Gate Theatre. He also designed the setting for the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in Dublin 2003. Career retrospectives took place in Lund, Sweden in 1983, Moscow in 1989 and Dublin in 2006. He is a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and a member of Aosdaná, the self-governing trust of Ireland's most distinguished artists. In 2010 he was conferred with an honorary doctorate by the Dublin Institute of Technology. He is a patron of the Free the Miami 5 Campaign in Ireland. PHOTO: Ciarán Rooney



Iwan Bala

Iwan Bala is a writer as well as being one of Wales’ most renowned artists today. He has a multi-disciplinary approach to his practice. A founder member of The Artists’ Project (an artist-led international movement that has created large site-specific events in New York, Poland, Spain, Israel and Wales) he was also a member of the Beca group, an important group of artists in Wales founded in the 1970s.

Selected exhibitions where his work has been on display include: A Propos Ceri Richards at the National Museum and Gallery of Wales (2003-04); Welsh Painting for the 21st Century at the Mall Galleries, London; Strata, site-specific work at Strata Florida, Wales and Kells, Ireland (2006). His work is held in numerous collections including the National Museum and Gallery of Wales (Derek Williams Trust); the Contemporary Art Society for Wales; Y Tabernacl (Museum of Modern Art, Wales). In 1997 he was awarded the Gold Medal for Fine Art at the National Eisteddfod of Wales. PHOTO: courtesy of the artist



Steve Bell

Steve Bell is a political cartoonist. Born in London and educated in Slough, he studied fine art at the Teesside College of Art and then at te University of Leeds. After training as an art teacher he taught for one year before becoming a freelance cartoonist in 1977. His breakthrough came when he created a strip for Time Out magazine called ‘Maggie’s Farm’ which satirized the newly-formed Thatcher government. This success led to a trial at the Guardian in 1981 and the resulting strip ‘If…’ has been running continuously ever since. Since the mid-90’s he has been the most prolific cartoonist at The Guardian. He has created many memorable caricatures of political figures – most notably his depiction of John Major as a pathetically inept superhero figure wearing his underpants on the outside, his mad swivel-eyed Tony Blair and ape-like George W. Bush. He has won many awards over the years and has been given honorary degrees from the Universities of Sussex, Teesside, Loughborough, Leeds and Brighton. PHOTO: Hugh Card



Ross Birrell

Ross Birrell is an artist and writer whose work includes actions, texts, drawing, video and sculpture. He is a part-time lecturer in the Forum for Critical Inquiry at the Glasgow School of Art and is founding editor of the online journal, Art & Research.  David Harding is an artist and teacher who worked for a decade as Town Artist in Glenrothes in Fife where he developed the concept of the artist as planner and member of the design team building a new town.  He retired from his lengthy and influential position at Glasgow School of Art in 2001.

Since 2005 Birrell and Harding have collaborated on a series of films and installations such as Port Bou: 18 Fragments for Walter Benjamin (2006), Cuernanvaca: A Journey in Search of Malcolm Lowry, commissioned by Kunsthalle Basel (2006) and Guantanamera, filmed in Cuba (2008) and Miami (2009) and launched at Glasgow International 2010.  In 2007 Birrell received an Artist’s Film and Video Award from the Scottish Arts Council towards the collaborative production of Guantanamera and in 2011 received a Creative Scotland award to develop new film work. In 2001 Harding received an OBE for his services to art education.




Derek Boshier

Derek Boshier was born in Portsmouth, England in 1937 and today lives and works in Los Angeles.  He first came to prominence with his paintings as a student at the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1960s, with fellow students David Hockney, Allen Jones, R.B. Kitaj, and others in the British Pop Art movement. Subsequently he has used other media:  drawing, printmaking, film, books, three dimensional objects, installations and photography among them. His graphic work with popular music groups such as The Clash and with David Bowie has brought his work to a wider audience. Recently, he has created to wide critical acclaim a complex installation, 99 Cent War, which is an indictment of the Gulf War. He has also published a hand-drawn limited edition book associated with 99 Cent War. His work is held in numerous private collections as well as by many major museums and galleries. In the UK these include the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, Windsor Castle and the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh. Internationally, these include the Yale Centre for British Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York in the US, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France, the National Gallery of Art in Canberra, Australia and the National Gallery of Poland, Warsaw. He has held scores of solo exhibitions throughout Europe and in the US and elsewhere, such as Documentation and Work 1959-72 (Whitechapel Art Gallery,London, 1973) early in his lengthy career, to the recent Derek Boshier: Works on Paper 1955-2007 (Flowers East, London, 2007) and Extreme Makeover (Flowers, New York, 2008). PHOTO: Marissa Roth

Derek Boshier is represented by Flowers Galleries in London, Steven Wolf Fine Arts in San Francisco, Galerie du Centre in Paris and Corbett vs.Dempsey in Chicago.

Website:  http://www.derekboshier.com/



John Byrne, RSA

John Byrne is an artist, playwright and screenwriter.  He went to Glasgow School of Art in 1958 to study drawing and painting and in the 1970s also started to write highly acclaimed plays including Writer’s Cramp and The Slab Boys, which won the Evening Standard’s Most Promising Playwright Award.  He is best known for the six-time BAFTA award-winning television series Tutti Frutti.  His numerous styles of painting, his technical facility and his accomplishments as a draughtsman have established Byrne as one of Scotland’s foremost artists.  He became a full member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 2007. 

Byrne’s work is included in many important collections including the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh; the Museum of Modern Art, Glasgow; and Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow. Byrne was awarded an MBE for services to literature and the theatre (2001), which he returned in protest at the British Government’s decision to invade Iraq; Honorary Fellow of the GSA; Honorary Doctorships from the universities of Paisley, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Strathclyde.



Khulood Da`mi

Khulood Da`mi was born in Baghdad and today lives and works in London. She graduated in 1979 with a BA from Baghdad University’s School of Fine Art. She studied printing at the London School of Printing and then started experimenting with different mediums including ceramics, textiles and printing in Ormond Road studios. Most recently she studied World Art and Artefacts, Iznic Tiles and London Archives at Birkbeck University.

Sufi poems inspire Da`mi tremendously and the written word is employed in her art. The Andalusian music and poems she listens to make their way into her work while the physical and spiritual beauty of Arabic Calligraphy instigate many of her pieces. She incorporates other texts most importantly the Cuneiform used by the people of Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq), but also Urdu, Chinese, Hebrew and Greek. The situation in Iraq affected her work, namely the large-scale displacement of peaceful people, the looting of the Iraqi Museum and the loss of the Iraqi Archives. The sectarian killings have touched her personally when she lost her eldest brother Ali. She subsequently created a series of works in his homage. In another piece, she incorporated soil she has brought back from her homeland with other materials.

Da’mi has shown her work in eight solo exhibitions and participated in various group exhibitions both in London and internationally. She is a member of the Iraqi Artists Society and the Crafts Council. Her work is held in public collections including The British Museum, National Museum of Jordan and the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, and in private collections globally including in Manama (Bahrain), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) , Dubai, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Barcelona, Tokyo, London and New York.  PHOTO: Courtesy of artist.

Website: http://www.khulooddami.co.uk



Rose Finn-Kelcey

Rose Finn-Kelcey works in the belief or dare that she can continue to reinvent herself and remain a perennial beginner. She consistently experiments with different media making performances, installations and sculpture. The complex thinking embodied in her work has touched on such themes as power and the dilemmas of mastery, the myth of the artist, the gaining of a voice, the deceptions of value, the nature of collaboration, the surrogate performer, religion, spirituality, longing and death. The use of language and references to the spiritual, both underscored by irony and wit, consistently recur in her work. Her work can be found in private and public collections, most notably the Tate Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, Arts Council and British Council Collections in the UK and the Welkunst Foundation and the Bernard Starkman Collection internationally.

She has exhibited widely in group exhibitions such as Signs of the Times (Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1990), Documenta 1X (Kassell, Germany, 1992), Out of Actions (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1998), Live in Your Head (Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2000), How to Improve the World (The Hayward Gallery, London, 2006) and the recent Modern British Sculpture (The Royal Academy, London, 2011). In 2007 she won the ACE Award for her shimmer disc mural Angel and in 2009-10 was the lead artist for the development of Highbury Corner, London. She is currently compiling a monograph which will cover her work from 1968-2011. PHOTO: Courtesy of artist

Website: http://www.sculpture.org.uk


Alasdair Gray

Alasdair Gray is a writer and an artist.  After studying at the Glasgow School of Art where he specialized in murals, he taught art in Lanarkshire and painted many murals in public buildings.  In the 1960s and 1970s he wrote plays for radio, television and the stage. His first novel Lanark was published in 1981.  This highly-acclaimed novel with its mix of fantasy, autobiography and realism together with illustrations by Gray is his best known work.  Short story collections and other novels have followed.  In 1992 his novel Poor Things won the Whitbread Prize as well as the Guardian Fiction Prize.  He has been a writer-in- residence and briefly Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.    Wanting an independent Scottish government, he has written political pamphlets such as Why the Scots should Rule Scotland (1992) and (with Professor Adam Tomkins) How We Should Rule Ourselves (2005).  PHOTO: courtesy of artist ‘24 July 1995, photographed by himself in a mood of exceptional gaiety’.  


David Harding

David Harding is an artist and a teacher.  His career has included a decade working as Town Artist in Glenrothes in Fife where he developed the concept of the artist as planner and member of the design team building a new town. Between 1978 and 1985 he was senior lecturer in Art & Social Contexts at the Dartington College of Art in Devon.   In 1985 he was appointed head of a new department, Environmental Art, at the Glasgow School of Art, becoming Head of Sculpture and Environmental Art in 1995.   He retired from this position in 2001, in which year he was awarded an OBE for his services to art education.  The Guardian recently described his tenure at the Glasgow School of Art as being responsible, along with others including Sam Ainsley, for a ‘golden age’ of the visual arts in Glasgow.  In recent years he has collaborated with the artist Ross Birrell on film projects, the latest of which was filmed in Havana, Santiago and Guantanamo.  PHOTO: Courtesy of artist.  


Mona Hatoum

Mona Hatoum first became widely known in the mid 1980s for a series of performance and video works that focused with great intensity on the body. In the 1990s her work moved increasingly towards large-scale installations and sculpture. Hatoum has developed a language in which familiar, domestic everyday objects are often transformed into foreign, threatening and dangerous things. Even the human body is rendered unfamiliar in Corps étranger (1994), a video installation that displays an endoscopic journey through the interior landscape of her own body. Hatoum was born into a Palestinian family in Beirut in 1952 and now lives and works in London and Berlin. She has participated in several important exhibitions including the Turner Prize (London, 1995), The Venice Biennale (1995 and 2005), The Istanbul Biennial (1995), Documenta XI, Kassel (2002) and the Biennale of Sydney (2006). Solo exhibitions include Centre Pompidou, Paris (1994), Tate Britain, London (2000) Hamburger Kunsthalle, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Magasin 3, Stockholm (2004), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2005). Recent exhibitions include Measures of Entanglement (UCCA, Beijing, 2009), Interior Landscape (Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice, 2009), Witness (Beirut Art Center, Beirut, 2010) and Le Grand Monde (Fundaciòn Marcelino Botìn, Santander, 2010). PHOTO: Jim Rakete

Mona Hatoum is represented by White Cube Gallery in London.



Susan Hiller

Susan Hiller was born in 1940 in Florida and after a period of extensive travels, in 1967 she settled in London and began to develop an art practice. She cites Minimalism, Fluxus, aspects of Surrealism, as well as her previous study of anthropology as major influences on her work. She was one of the first generation of feminists in the art world who Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate Museum, described as a ‘hugely influential figure for a younger generation of British artists.’ Her current complex and multi-media practice, as well as her published writings, have established Hiller as one of today’s most significant artists. She has participated in many solo and group shows internationally and is a recipient of numerous awards and fellowships.  In the UK important exhibitions have included a major survey Out of Bounds (Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, 1986) and the mid-career retrospective Susan Hiller: Selected Works (Tate Gallery, Liverpool, 1996). The largest presentation of her work to date was the recent Susan Hiller (Tate Britain, London, 2011), a show that provided a unique opportunity to follow her exploration of dreams, memories and supernatural phenomena across a career of almost four decades. Hiller’s work is held in public collections in the UK, the US, France, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Japan, and elsewhere. PHOTO: © Lanfranco

Susan Hiller is represented by the Timothy Taylor Gallery, London

Website: www.susanhiller.org



John Keane

John Keane is an artist.  He was born in Hertfordshire and subsequently studied at the Camberwell School of Art.  His work has usually focused on the central political questions of our time often featuring conflict, both military and social, with subject-matter ranging from Northern Ireland to the Middle East to the Moscow Theatre Siege.  In 1990 during the Gulf War the Imperial War Museum commissioned him as an official war artist and he has sometimes worked with organisations like Greenpeace and Christian Aid.   In 2006 he visited Angola with Christian Aid and the resulting pictures formed the centrepiece of his Children in Conflict exhibition which then toured the UK and Ireland.   In recent years he has also become known for his portraits.  Notable examples include his portraits of Mo Mowlam and Bill Morris commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery and that of Kofi Annan for the United Nations building. His work is held in numerous public and corporate collections including the Imperial War Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the United Nations, several major banks as well as in collections held by hospitals and universities in the UK.  He has exhibited extensively in both solo and group shows in the UK, the US, as well as in Paris, Moscow, Prague, Brussels and elsewhere. John Keane is represented by Flowers Galleries in London and New York.

Website: www.johnkeaneart.com



Alexander (Sandy) Moffat

Sandy Moffat studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1960 to 1964. He was Director of the New 57 Gallery in Edinburgh from 1968 to 1978. From 1979 he taught at Glasgow School of Art where he was Head of Painting from 1992 to 2005. One of Scotland’s most renowned artists, his students included such notable artists as Ken Currie, Peter Howson and Steven Campbell.

Moffat shared with his fellow artist John Bellany an aversion to the decorative work characteristic of the first half of the years of 20th Century Scottish art as well as a keen social consciousness. Their figurative work led to the emergence of the Scottish Realist Painters. In recent years he has participated alongside Sam Ainsley and David Harding in a two-year research residency at Glasgow Sculpture Studios with the aim of helping to establish the centrality and future of art in Scottish culture. His work is held in numerous collections worldwide including in public collections such as the Pushkin Museum, Moscow and the Yale Centre for British Art in the US. He has exhibited widely including The Modern Scot, the current show at the newly reopened Scottish National Portrait Gallery where Moffat’s celebrated Poet’s Pub (1990) is a signature exhibit.



Tom Pietrasik

Tom Pietrasik is a photographer and filmmaker based in London who has spent ten years living in India. He undertakes news and features assignments and works extensively in South Asia.  Hs previous commissions include projects for development agencies UNICEF and the World Health Organisation and voluntary organisations such as ActionAid, Oxfam and Save the Children.  His photographs have been published in National Geographic Adventure magazine, The Times magazine, The Guardian, Newsweek, The Financial Times Magazine and Marie Claire. His study The Transformation of India's Middle Class was included in the largest annual photography exhibition in The Netherlands, the Noorderlicht Photofestival 2006: Another Asia (Noorderlicht Photography, Groningen, The Netherlands, 2006). The British Council and UNICEF hosted Children of the Tsunami (Forum Art Gallery, Chennai, India, 2006), an exhibition featuring photographs documenting the changes in the lives of tsunami-affected children in India over a year and a half. The exhibition was accompanied by workshops for children led by Pietrasik which addressed how the different mediums in which photographs are presented, for example magazine page or gallery wall, can affect their interpretation. His work was also included in the annual international Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize (National Portrait Gallery, London, 2008-9). Pietrasik’s short film Saloon has been screened at International Film Festivals and was shortlisted in the 2011 Virgin Media Shorts competition.

Website: www.tompietrasik.com



Jane Yates

Jane Yates’ formal training as a potter was a BA Honours degree in Ceramics at Bath Academy in the 1980s. She works from home in her studio in Bideford, North Devon.  Most of her work is oxidised stoneware and coiled, using a rich language of glazes developed over the years. Her work reflects the natural rhythms of the rocky coastline. Her pot shapes are inspired by Roman, Pueblo Indian and Arabic pots – she spent her early childhood living in Baghdad. Gallery outlets for Yates’ work include the Penwith, St. Ives, Torquill Gallery, Henley-in-Arden, the Goalyard, Nottingham and the Waterside, Instow. PHOTO: courtesy of artist

Website: www.westcountrypotters.co.uk/gallery/jane-yates




 

CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS

Sam Ainsley

Rasheed Araeen

Iwan Bala

Robert Ballagh

Steve Bell

Ross Birrell & David Harding

Derek Boshier

John Byrne RSA

Khulood Da’mi

Rose Finn-Kelcey

Alasdair Gray

Mona Hatoum

Susan Hiller

John Keane

kennardphillipps

Alexander Moffat RSA OBE

Tom Pietrasik

Jane Yates

and others

Selected images of works of art in the exhibition are now available in e-brochure