A city, a faith

By: Jorge R. Bermúdez

adre Varela (2019), de Janet Ruiz Cortada

“Beauty is the shadow of God,” said the great Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, the first Nobel Prize in Latin American Literature. And these shadows covered the illustrious walls of the Padre Félix Varela Cultural Center in Havana (once the San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary), on the occasion of the opening on Tuesday, June 11, the collective exhibition of painting A City, a faith in homage to the 500th anniversary of the city of Havana.
It showed two well-defined exhibition lines: the works resulting from the contest convened and those of the artists invited to participate out of competition.
The jury responsible for awarding the awards was composed of specialist and researcher Delia María López, Marta Triana and Brother Jesús Bayo Mayor. The first prize belonged to Father Varela (2019), by Janet Ruiz Cortada, whereo the second prize fell in San Cristóbal (2019), by Dany González Rodríguez. In both oil paintings he dominated a figurative line of strong realistic imronta in line with the dominant religious theme.
Janet’s work had the peculiarity of recreating an almost daily situation of the life of the priest Félix Varela, who in a thoughtful attitude walks through one of the corridors of the aforementioned center of study, where she taught philosophy classes to a whole generation of Cubans during the nineteenth century, laying the foundations for a rationalist and nationalist thought in the middle of the colonial period. In plastic terms, the recreation of such a situation is attended by an illustrative intention that has, in the game of the claroscuros typical of the architectural field in which it is inserted, its greatest interest.

San Cristóbal (2019), de Dany González Rodríguez
San Cristóbal (2019), de Dany González Rodríguez

The San Cristobal de Dany stands out for being a proposal that materialized with plastic dignity from an iconic reference with a trajectory of centuries in the history of Western art.
The third prize was deserted. The jury decided to give a mention to the sculpture Presence (2019), by David Abad Fernández.
As for the set of works that represented the invited artists, it is worth noting that these are inserted organically into the present exhibition event in relation to the theme of the 500th anniversary of the city of Havana, both in terms of its urban landscape and the most representative religious architecture, and the national and universal relief personalities born in it , as is the case with José Martí.
In terms of urban landscaping, the works of the collection of the Church of La Merced, of the authorship of a number of academic artists of the last century stand out. Add to these are the most recent urban-themed ones by the plastic artist Mercy Rivadulla, as well as those of her father, Eladio Rivadulla Martínez; the latter notable posterist, although in this case is represented by a number of watercolors on the Hermitage of Catalans, corresponding to his student stage at the Academy of San Alejandro. In relation to the most universal of Cubans, the habanero José Martí, are to name the works of the graphic artists Arístides Esteban Hernández (Ares) and Lorenzo Santos (Losama).
As the title of the exhibition well anticipates, the city of Havana and the faith are the mobiles of the summoned artists, who are joined by the harmonious inner courtyard of a well-illustrious architecture, between Renaissance and Mannerist, which gives the works exhibited the spirituality of that shadow of which the Mistral spoke , and whose light is always so necessary to us. “I say shadows, because it’s more light.”1 Ω

1 The verse corresponds to the poem “I Say Shadows”, by the unpublished poem Abydos, by the author of this text.

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