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Jonathan Ferrara Gallery Unveils ‘Cuba Revisited,’ Celebrating the Gallery’s Return to Its Work in Cuba

JONATHAN FERRARA GALLERY proudly presents CUBA REVISITED, an exhibition celebrating the gallery’s return to its work in Cuba that dates back to 2001.

The exhibition features the work of nine Havana-based artists working in various media including painting, collage, photography, and sculpture. In a nod to the past, three artists from the first two shows: Damian Aquiles, Nelson Ramirez, and Ernesto Leal are featured alongside a new generation of young Cuban artists.

Cuba Revisited

The exhibition will be on view from 15 December 2022 through 18 February 2023 with monthly receptions coinciding with the Arts District of New Orleans’ (ADNO) First Saturday Gallery Openings from 6-9 PM – with an opening reception on 7 January and a closing reception on 4 February. 

In 2000 and 2001, Jonathan Ferrara began his work in Cuba, traveling to Havana to conduct dozens of studio visits across the city. The two resulting exhibitions held at the gallery in New Orleans, Made in Cuba (2001) and Havana Inside Out (2003), were received with critical and commercial success and began a relationship between the gallery and the artists of Cuba.

Ferrara established deep connections to the art scene there, bringing several artists to the United States for the first time and creating two important exhibitions of contemporary Cuban art. These exhibitions featured artists such as Rene Francisco Rodriguez, Eduardo Ponjuan, Ezekial Suarez, Ernesto Leal, Angel Delgado, and Ferrara’s Cuban collaborator, artist Damian Aquiles. 

In The Words of Jonathan Ferrara

“Twenty years later, a similar climate exists in contemporary Cuba, although some reforms have taken place with regard to private enterprise. The creative community of artists living there continues to thrive and make conceptually challenging works of art in spite of the nation’s struggles. My return to Cuba was as inspirational as my first visit. The artists whom I previously worked with have continued to ascend in their careers and I discovered a new generation of artists whose youthful perspectives contribute to the potency of the creative community. Cuban artists hold a special place in my curatorial history for their resilience in the face of political and economic adversity, as well as their ingenious ability to communicate utilizing unconventional materials. 

Traveling to this isolated island nation with a rich history of contemporary art-making was inspirational for many reasons. Cuban artists are amazing in their ability to create something from nothing. With a lack of access to standard art-making materials available abroad, they have the unique ability to communicate their creative visions effectively and clearly using very basic, raw materials such as sandpaper, toothpaste tubes, iron oxidation, tin foil, soap, and a  multitude of found materials.” 

Most of these artists formally trained at the three major art schools in Cuba, Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), Academia  Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro, and the National School of Art School (ENA); while one is self-taught. These artists’ careers are each marked by their unique and individual abilities to push the creative envelope in addressing the issues facing their existence in Cuba. 

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