There are many artists who are able to leave Cuba to share their work in the U.S., as a short-term guest, showing their work in small galleries. Eduardo M. Abela Torras who lives in Havana, has managed to leave his country for art exhibits. Abela was destined to become an artist. Both his father, J. Eduardo Abela Alonso, and grandfather, Eduardo Abela, are accomplished painters whose works are also represented in “Cuba on My Mind.”
Abela has exhibited extensively in Cuba, but has also participated in group and solo shows in Spain, Italy, Puerto Rico, Panama, Sante Fe, Chicago and various locations in Florida. His paintings offer a witty, often comedic view of Cuban history and social events.
“The thriving Cuban art scene is claiming a rich, complex legacy with artists on and off the island. This was on display at a recent collaborative exhibition at the Von Liebig Art Center in Naples, Florida. Cuba on My Mind was a show that included paintings, photography and mixed media by various Cuban artists both on and off the island. Five artists from Havana and five artists from South Florida were featured. Bringing together different generations, Cuba on My Mind included the work of Eduardo Abela, Eduardo Miguel Abela Torras, Humberto Castro, Jose Andres Matos Alonso, Cirenaica Moreira and others.
One of the unrivaled talents from the island is Eduardo Miguel Abela Torras, the grandson and namesake of distinguished Cuban artist and cartoonist Eduardo Abela, a contemporary of Wilfredo Lam’s. Currently living in Havana, Abela offers the viewer a witty and often comic approach of Cuba’s history and current events. As a figurative artist, Abela merges culture, narrative and subject together to put forth his perspective. He says he does not follow the tendencies of contemporary art, but that is merely because he is “motivated by a more classical aesthetic and enjoys the great movements in art history.”
“In my work, there is always an influence of Byzantine art, religious art and even medieval art,” Abela says. “My intention is to deal with the things that inspire me and that Cubans face—exodus, precariousness, isolation, the perpetual economic crisis, solitude, the division amongst families—with an anachronistic play between irony and absurdity.”
He goes on to explain that the themes of his work come from the most personal and introspective parts of him, leaving behind tendencies, styles, and opinions on art. One example of this is Infanta & Malecón. In this piece, Abela appropriates two figures from the painting La Meninas by Diego Velázquez and contrasts them with Havana’s famous seaside boulevard, the Malecón. Spain’s Princess Margarita Teresa, known throughout history as “La Infanta” rides atop a boat Abela has painted to look like the Malecón’s breakwater.”Abela in his studio