The Blue Guitar by Derwin Leiva

Booth #1013

Artist Bio:
I grew up in Santa Clara, Cuba and became fascinated with art at an early age. I remember helping my grandfather make charcoal from the Aroma tree. I always looked forward to helping him because it was a way for me to get free material to draw. I would pick up empty cigarettes boxes and brake them so I could use the white surface in the inside of the box to draw. I really enjoyed drawing with charcoal in different surfaces and it helped me capture my passion for art.
Due to political reasons, my family and I were forced to escape Cuba in 1995 and we moved to Miami. Starting a life in a new country was a very difficult task due to the absence of family and friends. Few years later I had the opportunity to meet the Cuban guitar player Arturo Fuerte. His music was, and still is, a constant backdrop to my work. Even today much of my work is inspired by his rhythm and my love for music. My work has been also influenced by Picasso, Braque and Wifredo Lam. Their style shattered traditional form of artistic representation and it reminds me of my broken memories of my life in Cuba.

In 2004 I moved to Honolulu, Hawaii where I started taking drawing and painting classes at the Honolulu Museum of Art Linekona School. Then I attended University of Hawaii Manoa to attain my Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art with a sculpture concentration. Here I was exposed to a variety of media: painting, photography, print making, glass, metal fabrication, and bronze casting.

Now as an emerging Cuban-American artist I am interested in representing various aspects of Cuba, including its political, social and cultural life. In my work I try to depict a society that has experienced extreme oppression but at the same time it has a rich culture and it is full of life. Through the use of rhythm and motion in my work, I wish to mirror this experience of freedom found through Cuban music.

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