Origins of the Cuban Contemporary Ceramics
The emergence of the Cuban contemporary ceramics can be established in the decade of the 40s of the twentieth century, when two doctors called Ramirez Corria and Rodriguez de la Cruz acquired an old workshop of utilitarian objects in Santiago de las Vegas, which allocated to the artistic production of this type of art. And for the last years of the 1950s it achieved a regularized production of artistic ceramics in our country, because Jose Miguel Rodriguez de la Cruz invites renowned Cuban painters, such as Amelia Pelaez, Wifredo Lam, Rene Portocarrero and Mariano Rodriguez, to decorate vessels made by experienced craftsmen under his guidance. Thus it was born the Cuban contemporary ceramics, whose development has been achieving remarkable strength in recent times.
Cuban Contemporary Ceramics in the Revolution
After the triumph of the Revolution and during 60 successful years, the state created a workshop entitled: “Cubartesanías” (Cuban Crafts) to supply objects to the tourism industry. This workshop very quickly began to specialize in ceramics and gradually this artistic expression would stop having an utilitarian character to be defined as a product of considerable artistic quality. In this sense, the term ceramic sculpture to refer to this type of production is employed. Within the growers of sculptural ceramics we can highlight the figure of Alfredo Sosabravo, who in 1979 performed on one of the walls of the mezzanine of the Habana Libre Hotel a complex mural which he entitled: “Revolution Car” and he used 555 original pieces made directly by him. In 1985 the Terra Cotta 4, composed by artists Amelia Carballo, Jose Ramon Gonzalez, Angel Norniella and Agustin Villafaña was founded. With their contribution, these artists contributed to confirmation of ceramics as a greater discipline.
Cuban Contemporary Ceramics and its Main Exponents
Cuban contemporary ceramics have gained an important space within the Cuban artistic production today. There are numerous examples of works and artists that are part of contemporary artistic catalog. It should be highlighted as background Amelia Pelaez – with her mural reflected in glass paste tesserae for the facade of the Habana Libre Hotel (1957-1958) – Wifredo Lam – work built with irregular potsherds in the of Medical Retirement Building in the Rampa – and Mariano Rodriguez, with his work Boomerang present in the lobby Medical Retirement Building in the entrance of the N Street. A little more recent in time we find Gilberto Erasmo Gutierrez Amat, Rene Martinez Palenzuela – in collaboration with Alfredo Sosabravo in a series of murals in scientific, commercial and hotel facilities – Julia Gonzalez – with his work of ceramic tiles for the dining room of the Moka Hotel in Las Terrazas community in the west of the island – Mirta Garcia Buch – pioneer of artistic ceramics in Cuba that performs two significant works, one at the Bosque Hotel in the Kohly Neighborhood and other for the Sirena hotel in Varadero Beach – and finally the painter and ceramist Isabel Jimeno who placed a mural of glazed tiles on the outside of the building adjacent to Mariana Grajales Maternity Hospital in Old Havana.