**Customary end-of-tour gratuities for the Cuban guide, driver, and tour leader are left to the guest’s discretion and should be based on your satisfaction with the level of service received.
Your tour begins in the early afternoon with a visit to the National Museum of Fine Arts, founded in 1913. It is the institution in charge of treasuring, restoring, conserving, promoting and investigating the works that are part of Cuba’s visual heritage. It has the most important collection of existing Cuban art, which spans from the 16th century to the present day. The colonial engravings of the 19th century, the works produced between 1898 and 1920 (academic painting), the avant-garde of the first half of the 20th century and the series of the great Cuban masters, such as Fidelio Ponce, Víctor Manuel, Carlos Enríquez and Wifredo Lam.
Afterwards, your tour continues with a visit to different artists’ studios.
We will begin at Kelvin V. López Nieves. He graduated in 2000 at the Higher Institute of Art, where he currently teaches, and he has had personal exhibitions in various parts of the island, as well as in the United States and Canada. This artist has surprised many with the exhibition of his flowers at the Galiano Gallery and the use of his paintings in a 2008 calendar, which reminds us, because of how it was made, of the finesse with which the Japanese usually make almanacs from photos of Ikebana art. You have to take Kelvin’s floral painting as an exercise in style variations that vindicates, and at the same time demystifies, one of the stereotypes of beauty. It is his way of skipping the prejudices of the so-called minor genres and giving testimony of a state of grace in which any intellectual speculation can turn out to be wasteful. The flowers jump from the canvas to life and that’s enough.
After you will visit Mabel Poblet’s studio. She is a contemporary Cuban artist who, despite her youth, has reached great success both nationally and internationally. Even though she has shown interest in installations, photography and performance, the novel artist doesn’t hesitate to use the different resources that the artistic creation offers her; hence she often prefers linking the different art forms and building hybrids of a true visual force and strength of meaning.
You will continue your visit of Havana’s different studios at Flora Fong’s. A contemporary visual artist who stands out in Cuba for the way she takes to the canvas or the cardboard autochthonous landscapes, in which the tropical sensuality and the Asian tenacity are highlighted. She has received several distinctions, especially the Distinction for National Culture in 1988. In addition to painting and drawing, Flora Fong has ventured into ceramics, stained glass and fabric design. She has made illustrations for different national and international publications.
Among her most interesting works is the 1995 collective mural in the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in the city of Havana City, in 1997 the design of a 150 x 600 cm stained glass window for the Piano-Bar of El Pedregal Restaurant in the Cuban capital and in 1999 a sculpture at Varadero beach resort.
Some of her most representative series include Remolinos y ciclones, Trópico, El Caribe, Las Antillas and Bahía, all illustrating light, climate, vegetation and the Cuban and regional environment.
Afterwards, you will enjoy lunch at Habaneras.
Your tour of visits to artists’ studios will continue with Pedro Pablo Oliva. He is among the most outstanding creators in the Cuban art scene of all time. The persistent and scrutinizing view of his circumstances continues today conjugated with the same sensibility, imagination and ethical sense that for more than four decades have created an extremely versatile and audacious work, committed to his time and abundant in technical mastery, emotional depth and conceptual coherence.
He is one of the most outstanding figures of contemporary Cuban painting, an exponent of a neo-expressionist style, transcended by magic realism and surrealism. His works have been collected in a score of personal and collective exhibitions in various countries, and are included in important Christie’s and Sotheby’s auctions.
Your will continue at Jorge Otero’s studio. He is graduate of the San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts (2001) and of the Higher Institute of Art (ISA) of Havana (2008). He is a professor at the Higher Institute of Design in Havana.
He won the photography award during the 12th Santiago Alvarez International Documentary Festival in Memoriam in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba (2011), as well as the first prize in the national These and Variations contest organized by the Alliance Française of Cuba.
Jorge Otero seeks the aesthetics of the sick, abject, deformed body, as a personal rebellion against the ideal, because according to his vision, what the media impose is just an ideal, not the truth, that is precisely in the sickly and dirty naturalness of the body and above all in pain, in suffering.
The last artist to visit but no less important is Octavio Irving. He is a young artist known primarily as an engraver, however, now, with Pulsiones, he has on display an exhibition focused exclusively on drawing and painting, in which this technical unfolding can be appreciated in all its splendor.
Affirming that Octavio is an excellent draftsman is not enough to classify him as such. We must approach his work, notice the careful treatment of the line, the correct distribution of the chiaroscuro, the expressiveness of the figures. The proper treatment of areas and textures could make us believe that everything has been calculated, that he knows in advance, that they are accurate to the millimeter, where everything is going, how to solve this or that figure, what place to give to the strange being that he has just imagined.
After a full day full of art, you return to the pier.
Note:This tour involves considerable walking, mostly on pavement. There is a significant amount of steps. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests. The use of cameras is not allowed. This tour is OFAC compliant.
Have Questions About Your Shore Excursions?
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