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8 Contemporary Artists From Cuba the World Needs to Know

Picture of Jack Guy
Updated: 2 October 2017
Cuba has a proud artistic history, and the contemporary art scene is growing in importance. Here are seven of the top contemporary Cuban artists that you should keep an eye on.

Roberto Fabelo

A painter, sculptor, and illustrator known for embedding absurdist humour in his works, Fabelo is part of the generation of Cuban artists that started to emerge in the 1980s. You can see his work at the Museum of Fine Art in Havana, and his statue Viaje Fantastico (2012) can be found in the Plaza Vieja in the Cuban capital.

Interesting findings in Havana today, " naked woman riding a cock" with a fork ! #havana #art #bronze #robertofabelo

A post shared by Christoffer Gustafsson (@caymanchris) on

Tania Bruguera

Primarily an installation and performance artist, Bruguera splits her time between Havana and New York. Her work has been exhibited internationally, as well as being on display in permanent collections at galleries in the US and Cuba. She is famously political, with work that explores immigration and political propaganda, and she even once claimed that she would run for president of Cuba.

Carmen Herrera

The minimalist painter has recently received international recognition after spending most of her life working in obscurity. At 101 years old, Herrera is finally seeing the fruits of her labour. She has lived in New York since the 1950s, and has regularly spoken out about discrimination against women in the art world.

Alexandre Arrechea

Born in 1970, Arrechea was part of the Los Carpinteros art collective for 12 years before striking out on his own. His work covers many disciplines, and he now lives in Miami. Collectors are taking an ever-increasing amount of interest in his work.

Yoan Capote

Capote is a sculptor and painter who lives and works in Havana, from a studio that he shares with his brother and fellow artist Ivan Capote. His work includes painting, installation, photography and video. His last solo exhibition was at Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, in January 2016.

dichotomy between pleasure and fear, thought and desire, reason and instinct Rational #yoancapote

A post shared by Abdulhaq Kamil (@abdkamil) on

Kcho

Born Alexis Leiva Machado, Kcho has received major international recognition for his work with sculpture and mixed media. Known for his patriotism, Kcho lives on the Isla de la Juventud, where he was born. As well as working on projects in the US and Europe, he is an elected deputy in the Cuban National Assembly.

An installation by Kcho at the Havana Biennale, 2015
An installation by Kcho at the Havana Biennale, 2015 | © Kamira / Shutterstock

Carlos Garaicoa

Garaicoa uses drawings, photographs, mixed media and video installations to explore his interest in the dilapidated buildings of Havana. The artist is now based in Madrid, Spain, but his fascination with his homeland is evident in works such as Japanese Garden (2001), which is made up of photographs of ruined buildings.

Manuel Mendive

Many critics consider Mendive to be one of the most important living artists from Cuba. He was born in Havana in 1944, and draws on his Afro-Cuban roots in his art. Drawing, painting, sculpture and performance art all feature in his body of work, and he is heavily influenced by his belief in the Santeria religion.