Cuban-American Artist Brings Past and Present Conflicts to Life in New DeLand Art Exhibit
DELAND, Florida. – A new exhibit at DeLand’s Museum of Art highlights cultural heritage, the environment and social justice.
The solo exhibition, entitled ‘When there are no borders’, includes more than 70 masterpieces by Cuban-American artist Reynier Llanes, who, with a brushstroke, reflects on the past and the present.
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“I needed to use metaphors to hide the message I was trying to convey to Cuba,” Llanes said from his home in Miami.
Born in the small town of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, where Llanes mastered his art, he used hidden messages in his paintings to express his social and political views.
Llanes said that in Cuba freedom of expression is prohibited by the communist government. He was worried about his future, so in 2007 Llanes fled to South Florida on a makeshift boat where he now lives.
“(I was) trying to escape the island for six months, so during that time I created a series of new paintings which I called ‘Strange Visitor’,” said the 36-year-old artist. years at News 6.
He explained that he used this expression to introduce himself as a fly.
“When a fly comes into your house, you have a strange visitor. I thought I was a strange visitor coming to the United States. I was that fly,” Llanes said.
Pam Coffman, curator of education at the Museum of Art in DeLand, explained how each piece tells a different story from a different era using animals, like cows and pigs, fruit, and a coffee machine used to make cuban coffee.
“Cow meat and milk were not allowed after children reached a certain age for the main people of Cuba, which goes back to his memories,” Coffman said. “There are a lot of metaphors and symbols in his work. You will see microphones, you will see typewriters, you will see different ways that we have communicated technologically over time.
The young painter comes from a family of doctors and uses his craft to give tragedy a brighter perspective, as he did with a painting of George Floyd.
“I made this painting not to portray sadness or brutality, but to try to portray it in a beautiful way,” he said.
In the painting, Floyd is dressed in white and floats.
“Dressing in white, not pinned up, floating in the air pointing forward with that look on her face of anticipation and hope that there is something better, and from all this tragedy things will change “, Coffman said of him. interpretation of the piece.
Llanes uses watercolour, coffee and mixed media, which is a combination of different materials, to depict his thoughts.
One of his paintings is named after a play by Cuban poet José Martí about last year’s historic protests on the island.
It’s called “I cultivate the white rose” or “Cultivo una rosa blanca”.
“I love my country. I love my country’s landscape, I love my people, the flavor of my food,” Llanes said. “It’s a shame because I don’t think anyone wants to leave their country.”
He also considers himself a journalist who tells stories.
“It’s so incredibly mystical and magical,” Coffman said. “I think the beauty of this exhibit and the magic of his work is that everyone is going to walk away with a story and they’re going to be touched by it in some way.”
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