Introducing Alberto Lescay - a true Cuban revolutionary

Posted: 17-Jan-17 11:30

Cuban artist Alberto Lescay has just finished a major exhibit in New York City, but his work can still be found in situ, as it was intended, at sites across the Caribbean island. As well as creating the island's tallest sculpture, Lescay's work can also be found at his Santiago base.

Introducing Alberto Lescay - a true Cuban revolutionary

For many visitors to Cuba, one of the most surprising aspects about the country is its complete lack of statues dedicated to Fidel Castro, the most famous son of the 1959 revolution and coup that saw US-backed dictator Batista overthrown, ushering in a new era of socialism and communism on the Caribbean island.

In many ways, though, the absence of Castro as sculpture isn't actually that hard to believe. Positioning himself as a man of the people, to have huge monuments erected in his honour, a la Stalin and Lenin in the old USSR, would be somewhat hypocritical and in bad taste considering the economic difficulties many Cubans still live with to this day.

None of which is to say that Cuba itself lacks an artistic or creative community, and Alberto Lescay is one of the most prominent names therein. Today, he is a silver fox of a practitioner, old enough to have seen his homeland go through a number of periods of upheaval, not least in the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, when the country was left without much of the diplomatic, resource and financial aid that it had once relied on Moscow for.

Primarily working in sculpting, Lescay has just finished a major exhibition of his work at the Cuban Art Space/ Center for Cuban Studies in New York, which featured in a recent Los Angeles Times report on the artist's life, and status as a national treasure who even appears on many touristic itineraries, regularly proving to be a highlight of many people's trips, with guides taking visitors to his working studio and even giving them time with the man himself.

His most famous piece, "El Titan De Bronce", depicts a hero of the Spanish-American war, in which Cuba finally gained independence from European colonialism. The statue of Antonio Maceo Grajales is the tallest in Cuba, and rises up a staggering 53-feet, showing the famed warrior riding a horse, with a series of metal machetes piercing the air from the ground, referencing a staple weapon of the Cuban army as was back in the 19th Century.

"The quality of this man as a military man was greatly admired, even in Europe,”

Lescay told the Los Angeles Times. Although the US exhibition has finished, it's still very much possible to catch a glimpse of this artist's work in situ, as intended, when you visit the island, with his base in Santiago now a site of pilgrimage for his fans, and fans of Cuban national art in general.

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