The Cuba's soup, Homage Warhol, History
Born in Havana, Cuba on 23 October 1964.
Studied in the Higher Secondary Level Academy of Arts “San Alejandro” and also in the Higher Pedagogical Institute “Enrique José Varona” where, in 1991, graduated as an Arts Education Professor specializing in the field of Plastic Arts. At first professional activities were more closely related to teaching and the academic world in general rather than to artistic creation. Thus, during two years taught in the higher secondary level schools in Cuba.
In 1992, his first personal exhibition titled “Cuban Stars” (“Estrellas Cubanas”). In this, he undertook an inquiry into the representation of an assumption of a “star system” in Cuban society, at a time when their communication with the rest of the world was still conditioned by the sociopolitical situation in Cuba. Using an iconography close to “Pop Art” and working with rather unconventional materials, he recreated pictures of Cuban “famous” baseball players, musicians and politicians. The acknowledgement of a mythical meaning in the term Cuban represents a self-acknowledgement and it marks a personal way of approaching his work as a whole.
In 1994, he began to devote himself to carrying out and researching into a form of discourse that better expressed daily life in Cuba. In this realm, he believes that what best typifies us is our sentimental and marginal rhetoric. Thus, his representations become more populists. In 1997 he received an award for personal achievement, granted by the National Museum of Sports in Cuba. In 1998, he also took part with well-known Cuban artists, in the anthological exhibition “Jao Much”, an award-winning project prized by the curatorship in the First Gallery of Cuban Contemporary Art . After the year 2000 his work begins to be known abroad and in July, that same year, he travels to Italy to exhibit his art in a Crafts Fair in the city of Torino. In the year 2001 he exhibits his artwork in the Museum of the Arizona State University in USA, with the work titled “The Boys of the Summer”. That same year, in October, he shows his work in art galleries in Austin, Texas. At the same time, he exhibits his work in the Contemporary Art Center “Wilfredo Lam” in Havana during the Fourth National Engraving Congress. In December 2001, he participates, in Phoenix, in the joint project “Monoprint”, with the artist John Armstrong.
Thus, he has worked in a form of art that explores the Symbolic Universe of Cuba and the expression of their most genuine identity together with mythical and cultural references in the history of arts and an analysis of the nationality that aims at discovering the “ true sense of the Cuban national spirit ”.
1984- Primary Level Teaching Degree
1985-1988- “San Alejandro” Academy of Arts
1996- Higher Pedagogical Institute “Enrique José Varona” (Degree in Arts Education and specialization in Plastic Arts).
Alfredo Manzo Cedeño has exhibited his works to popular acclaim in both Cuba and the United States.
Born in Havana in 1964, he studied at the Academia San Alejandro to become a teacher. Initially, he was interested in printmaking and painting; but he has since made a name for himself with his witty and whimsical papier-mâché figures.
In his work Manzo has always questioned the artificial division between "high" and "low" art, a philosophical theme that is clearly apparent in his Cuba's Soup series of serigraphs shown here — they are not just an homage to Warhol, but also a satirical commentary on the state of relations between Cuba and the U.S.
According to Marilyn Zeitlin, Director of the Arizona State University Art Museum, his work speaks to both countries, since it draws from both Cuban and American cultural and political heritages. "Like many Cuban artists, " Zeitlin says, "Manzo can tease both the Cuban and American clichés to render something new. He does so with astonishing craftsmanship, intelligence, wit and great élan."