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Featured Artist

Featured Artist

August

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Erik Olivera

Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, I graduated from the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Alejandro in 1999, the oldest and most prestigious fine arts school in Cuba. As the son of a strong Black woman, an artist herself, I grew up immersed and surrounded by the magic of all that is “art.”

I invite the viewer to participate, to reflect, so as to enter the inner world of the characters that I create—to join me. I try to express it all, and that is complicated by its not-linear or multi-dimensional nature. I question identity and then I place black characters at the center of my work, I remove them from the margins. Therefore, I focus on the vicissitudes of my race: I am black, undeniably, proudly, and unapologetically black. I paint blackness because representation is important. I paint blackness because it is my reality, it is what I have lived, it is transnational. To me, art is a weapon and it is so precisely because it gives the artist the possibility to express himself/herself through it and to say what he/she feels. To fight against racism, to vindicate my ancestors. To paint for the people who have been excluded from museums. In the struggle, the most important thing an artist should have is honesty because there is no greater weapon than the truth. Ultimately, art is expression, it is sincerity, and it is love.

In a society that merely tolerates, but does not forgive—as if being black were a crime—I aim to highlight that the sublime created beauty from pain. The sublime is the song that I dedicate to my ancestors, to my culture, and to our history.