Cuba Paintings Artist Statement
This section consists of a few selected paintings from several series of works that dealt with Cuban culture, politics and issues relating to Cuban-American identity. Reflections on American popular culture and Cuban identity have been found in my work since 1985 but in 1992, I became more interested in creating paintings that made clear realistic references to Cuban culture, religion, food, politics and it’s relevance in an American environment. The Madonnas of Western New York Series (1991-93), the Madonnas in Time Series (1993-95), Icons Series (1993-95), Las Balsas and Balsas Artifacts Series (1995-99), Appropriated Memories Series (1996-97) and the Cuban Portraits (1997-99) are examples of work from this period.
As my relatives in Cuba began to pass away, I realized that an important connection to my past and my culture was vanishing. An urgency developed and I began what has become a life-long process of researching Cuban art, music and culture. This research when aligned with my memories and strong connection to my family created cultural foundation for the images found in the paintings. With each bit of information I discovered and with every painting, drawing or video I created, I felt better about myself and about my perspective on the past and present. It was as though I was filling an intellectual and spiritual void. As each series was completed and as the artwork progressed, and changed, the urgency was lessened but the research never stopped. To this day, I am excited when I come across anything related to Cuba. The embargo has created a slow intellectual leak where new historically significant works of music and art seem to appear regularly.