I had the opportunity to visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana that held an impressive collection of Cuban Art. Art has been used through the years as an important visual commentary on the massive political and social changes sweeping Cuba, especially during the Cuban revolution in the 1960s.
I am particularly drawn to the works of Cuban artist Raul Martinez’s works (1927-1995). His style evolved from abstract expressionism to a unique Cuban interpretation of ‘Pop Art’. Many of his works carry themes and iconography of the revolution, with important military figures like Jose Marti, Che Guevera and Fidel Castro featuring heavily in his paintings that looked a lot like movie posters and propaganda leaflets.
With this piece of art that I’ve done, I’ve tried to use important personalities and iconic objects – the Cuban flag and vintage car against a stark green background to capture some of the nuances of Raul’s painting style in the 1960s.
Karl Marx and Karl Lagerfeld:
Born in Germany, both have very important roles to play in the history and future of Cuba. Karl Marx represents Communism, the iron sickle with which independent Cuba was carved out of. Karl Lagerfeld, the honcho of Chanel fashion house, scored a ‘coup’ with their first fashion show on the streets of Old Havana in early May 2016. It signified the opening up of Cuba to the promise of Capitalism. It will be interesting to see how much Cuba will evolve, together with its art and music with these sweeping changes.