To Do in Ciego de Avila
Parque Marti is especially at night the place to be for the local people, to chat and hang around. It is the largest Park in Ciego de Avila
Calle Jose Antonio Echevarria #25, Ciego de Avila, Cuba
In this museum, you will find an excellent recompilation about the history of Ciego de Avila from the foundation of the city. Documents and varied patrimonial objects, as well as pictures of the different epochs, allow the visitors to have a crisp idea of the development of the territory in the last decades. An area of its halls is devoted to the outstanding colonial fortification known as “La Trocha”, a fortified line which extended from southern Júcaro to northern Morón.
Indepencia Est, Ciego de Avila, Cuba
Not the most exciting zoo ... but if you want to learn about Cuba and Zoo's a must see
Centro Raul Martinez / Galleria de Arte Provincial
Calle Indepencia Oeste #65, Ciego de Avila, Cuba
Raul Martinez: painting A Truer Marti
By Lidice Valenzuela
Only really great artists are capable of surpassing the time of their death and live on forever. Cuban Raul Martinez earned that rare privilege.
Cubans, even those lacking great culture, identify him as the man who painted Cuba’s National Hero, Jose Marti, in many different ways and endowed him with loud colors –like those of his land- in an image that had nothing to do with the traditional one found in all museums.
He humanized him as no other artist of his times. And he also painted him more times than anybody else.
Born in Ciego de Avila, in 1927, Martinez was successful in different expressions of plastic arts: painting, design, photography, and also as a ghostwriter.
Having studied in Havana and in Chicago’s Art Institute (USA), he received the National Plastic Arts Prize in 1994 for his lifework.
Raul Martinez was there, in every one of Cuban culture’s key moments after the Revolution’s triumph in 1959. He had to do with the foundation of cultural institutions of those times -the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), Casa de las Americas, the Cuban Book Institute- as well as with the promotion and extension of artistic photography, posters and theatrical projects, among other prominent events of the period.
This master in plastic arts created a style among his well-known contemporaries, including Wifredo Lam, Rene Portocarrero and Antonia Eiriz.
When he painted Jose Marti, he did it following a trend that art critics and historians insist on calling non-figurative and that is part of his restless search of forms to show a different way to deal with plastic arts in which everyday events drink from sources which are less connected to the classic.
Raul Martinez, a member of the so-called group of The Eleven (abstract painters) was an interpreter of the pop movement but with a Cuban outlook. His works have the vibes and the colors of the tropics. Although this trend came on strong in Great Britain and the US, it also had followers in Spain and Latin America, with Colombian Antonio Caro and Venezuelan Marisol Escobar, among others; and some used several features of this trend in their works, such as Brazilian Antonio Enrique Amaral.
Perhaps among the many other decisive elements in his work, the most prominent one is the transmission of the virtue of plastic -born out of his talent and sense of experimentation and innovation- to establish communication with great human groups.
Right on the artistic target, he painted the Cuban revolutionary icons: not only Marti but also Cuban president Fidel Castro and Commander Ernesto Che Guevara, and he returned them as a whirlwind of shapes and colors.
Faces flooded in light, many later turned into posters that would identify an era and a country in revolutionary effervescence.
Raul Martinez, who among other awards received the National Plastic Arts Prize in 1994, set standards in Cuban posters. His work outlined guidelines which are still in force today for film posters. Great Cuban motion pictures of his time are also distinguished by his peculiar style, apparently simple, but which identified the history of films with its own voice.
The work of this master reached the common people, who recognized his gusts of abstract art devoid of elitism. His paintings were fresh, completely new to a public used to the shapes and colors of traditional schools.
One of the most renowned Cuban critics, Graciela Pogolotti -daughter, in turn, of one of Cuban painting’s classic masters (Marcelo Pogolotti)- recognized him as one of Cuba’s greats and said: (…) “His is a lesson of talent and skill, but above all, a lesson of lucidity and critical spirit. Because when they are lacking, talent becomes a spark and the skill is reduced to mere academic practice.”
Works by Raul Martinez are on exhibit in important museums throughout the world. He made at least twenty personal exhibits, among which are prominent those of his drawings and designs in the Center of Cuban Studies in New York (1975), and Cuban photography and posters (1983, United States). He also received the Silver Medal in the Cuban Painting Exhibition at Tampa University, Florida.
In addition, his works have been part of collective exhibitions since 1953, with the group of The Eleven, as well as in the Ewan Phillips Gallery (London, 1961), the Museum of Modern Art of Mexico (1975), the Georges Pompidou Center (Paris, 1977), and the Hall of Drawing of the Joan Miro Foundation (Barcelona, Spain, 1979).
Cuba’s National Museum of Fine Arts dedicates a large space in the permanent collections halls to Raul Martinez, especially remembered on the island for showing us –if possible- a truer Marti.