The Cuban artist Ariel Cabrera Montejo grew up in Camagüey in the centre of the island, and received his education from the Fine Arts Academy of Camagüey and the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana. He currently lives and works in New York. His exquisite oils, watercolours and graphite drawings explore the discourse between truth and fiction contained within the archives of Cuban historical documents. 

In his work, Cabrera Montejo recreates theatrical scenarios inspired by the historical periods like the interwar period known as La Tregua Fecunda or Fertile Truce (1879–95), and the Cuban War of Independence (1895–98). His imagined subjects are anecdotal heroes, not depicted like the traditional representations of heroes in Cuban colonial paintings by Juan Emilio Hernández Giro, Leopoldo Romañach and Armando Menocal. Cabrera Montejo’s characters have carnal, ludic, sensual desires. His subjects are less military and more human, not solemn serious figures on pedestals.

Despite what Cuban history wants to say about its military heroes, Cabrera Montejo shows them as human beings with lewd and sensual desires, in an attempt to interrogate the official history of Cuba. In his work he addresses sensitive topics in a social-political context, including sexuality, power, and the myth of the war hero.

Summer Time, 2018

Cabrera Montejo’s more recent work explores similar themes of historic truth, sexuality and power in modern society, in large canvases populated with a mixed crowd of people interacting in thought-provoking ways.

Ariel Cabrera Montejo has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in the United States, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Germany and Colombia, and has taught at the New York Academy of Art.

Ariel Cabrera Montejo’s Instagram account is here, and his Facebook account here, in both of which he shows his most recent work.

We are very grateful to our Russian friend Yuri, who suggested the inclusion of this artist and supplied most of the images.

Historia Cultural, 2018


Example illustration