GALLERIES: Very Dangerous Animals

GALLERIES: Very Dangerous Animals
Fecha de publicación: 
29 November 2021
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Rafael Zarza's cattle have long been part of the essential imagery of visual arts in Cuba. The National Prize for Plastic Arts that has just received this extraordinary artist, in any case has confirmed what everyone knew: this poetics has penetrated, it has been established with force in a rich and varied panorama. He speaks with his context freely, makes explicit more or less private, and more or less universal conflicts. Horns will always be a great symbol: the spectrum they reveal is ample.

The National Museum of Fine Arts hosts in its Cuban Art building an anthological sample of Zarza: Dangerous Animals. Works of different techniques and formats are displayed, with a varied palette, with dissimilar themes and metaphorical implications. But what’s constant is the cattle: the bull, the cow, the ox ... It’s known that in Cuba this animal represents many things. It has become a popular icon. Zarza takes advantage of that. He explores many of the discursive lines that are associated or even start from this animal, and combines them in a multiple framework, which also implies numerous contrasts.

These animals are dangerous not only because of the fierceness and drive of bulls; also due to the apparent laziness of some cows. In them are represented the obsessions, virtues, defects, problems and achievements of the human being. That’s why are recreated events of history and also battles of a stark eroticism, almost always with a caustic sense of humor.

Zarza's resolute imagination, which goes from expressionism to pop gracefully, always with a marked graphic calling, connects very well with a certain popular sensibility. These cattle say a lot. And many can understand what they say.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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