Here in Naples, Florida, the von Liebig Art Museum has just opened an exhibition of Cuban Art with over 30 exhibits comprising paintings, photography, and mixed media from private and public collections. There are exhibits from artists who live in Cuba as well as from Cuban-American artists in the US.
One might have thought of Cuba as a closed country and its art relatively homogeneous. But the art of Cuba, at least judging by this exhibition, seems to be very varied: there are bight, colorful images, sometimes drawing on African or folk themes, mono photography, abstracts and representational paintings. It makes one realise that Cuba seems to have been fairly liberal in it's treatment of artists - as the curator pointed out in her introduction, probably because the Castros know the value of art to the island.
For all that, there seems to be a different between the artists in Cuba and those who have left. “You get two points of view, one from the artists who have left Cuba and see the voyage they made to freedom, but who recognize that they left behind much that was important to them. ...If you’re living in Cuba, you’re not going to be making overt political statements,” Damian said.
One artist prominent artist is Eduardo Miguel Abela Torrás. Another is Eduardo Roca Salazar ("Choco"). He creates limited edition collagraphs, and his subject matter frequently includes human figures. He is a distinguished printmaker who lives and works in Havana and his expressionistic prints are full of Caribbean color. They are simple, powerful images that are enlivened by intricate textural details.
Lydia Rubio was born in Cuba and now lives in Miami. Her paintings of landscapes, birds, and women who resemble classical goddesses have an airy, delicate quality. Cirenaica Moreira is a photographer living in Cuba who creates sensual, poetic and sometimes disturbing images that explore her experiences as a woman, often using herself as a subject.
Humberto Castro, who was born in Cuba in 1957 and lived there until 1989. His paintings are haunting and nostalgic, focused on isolated figures that express a sense of transience and dislocation. He is fascinated by ancient mythologies of distant journeys and exile from a familiar home.
I got the clear impression from Damian that she thinks Cuban art will become the next hot area for collectors, particularly when the country opens up, as many assume it will do post-Castro.