CubaPLUS Magazine

Sinecio Cuétara and the labyrinths of his painting work

By: Liz Arianna Bobadilla León / Photos: Courtesy of artist
Sinecio Cuétara and the labyrinths of his painting work

From childhood, Cuban Sinecio Cuétara set his course towards a journey of exploration of senses, aesthetics and identity that led him into the labyrinthine paths of the visual arts, with their light and shade, colors and diversity of forms.

Sinecio Cuétara and the labyrinths of his painting work

As the artist confessed to CubaPLUS Magazine, being born in a village (Palenque) in Consolación del Sur, in the western province of Pinar del Río, became an essential element to explore the creative world, first building his own toys and then imagining unlikely scenarios from the backyard of the house surrounded by vegetation.

In Palenque, Cuétara gave free rein to his imagination among the tobacco fields, two rivers and a stream, many fruit trees and landscapes: a place of dreams and mysteries from where &love for the three-dimensional and a taste for those wonderful colors of nature and their aromas in every sunrise."

In contrast, trips to the city gave him new perspectives, expanded his horizons with exceptional pieces by local artists such as Domingo Ramos and his landscapes or the interiors of Amelia Peláez.

That’s how my first doodles began as a childhood game, from drawings in the earth and fantasy worlds in the sand; the patio of the house became the stage of my magical imaginary where everything finds harmony," said the sculptor born in 1967.

Sinecio Cuétara and the labyrinths of his painting work

With a degree in Art Education from the Enrique José Varona Higher Pedagogical Institute, Cuétara has had a prolific career with some 15 personal exhibitions, dozens of group shows in Spain, the United States, South Korea, Panama, Mexico and Colombia, among other latitudes, while his work is in private collections in several countries.

The road traveled from his student days to the present was full of &discoveries and knowledge, utopias, love and family," recalled the creator, while highlighting the irreplaceable presence of his trip companion, Alicia de la Campa Pak.

An ally of adventures in life and creation, &we began by sowing and later germinating projects that form the map of the footprints as we walk along this difficult but invaluable path of visual creation and its labyrinths, which shape the work".

Sinecio Cuétara and the labyrinths of his painting work

Although the beginnings were focused on landscape, the 21st century opened the doors to new stylistic concerns and experimentation, which led his work to integrate very important literary collections on the island, such as La pintura Abstracta en Cuba: 100 Artistas Abstractos Cubanos and La Abstracción en la Pintura Cubana: 126 Pintores Cubanos Abstractos, no figurativos, no objetuales: Tomo II, by Luis García Peraza.

My beginnings were in landscape, a genre I cultivate to this day, and abstraction sprouted organically in my canvases as a result of a trip to Mexico for an exhibition in 2003," and then it was nurtured by his own work, exchanges with creators and other artistic expressions such as cinema, theater, literature, dance and other cultures.

The North American Robert Rauschemberg was one of my first encounters with this world closer to the abstract in an exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana," evoked Cuétara, and compared his work to a journey of expedition and rediscovery.

You dive into the depths of a dream, it’s a daily awakening, you connect with the pulse of life that you discover along the way, in that delicious battle that is creation, all that shared with my accomplice: Alicia".

In fact, that voyage of exploration has taken his canvases to important stages of contemporary art in the Caribbean nation, such as half a dozen editions of the Havana Biennial, the current version of which runs through April 30.

Likewise, Cuétara defines himself as a faithful defender of the Cuban identity, his trademark is present in every brushstroke because &I am Cuban and I live in Cuba, because of my origins, because I am part of the flow of this city (Havana) that welcomed me as a son, we are where we come from and there are our roots: a rainbow of colors".

Sinecio Cuétara and the labyrinths of his painting work

His personal exhibitions stand out for that - Constructos imaginarios, Ciudad reinventada, Un lugar en el mundo o Contrapunto, produced in the last decade, such as Para alzar el vuelo, Encuentro, Ars longa, vita brevis, Huellas sobre la ciudad y 500 x 500, dedicated to the island’s capital, sources of inspiration for multiple projects.

Havana city is recurrent in the pictorial work of national creators; it is not surprising then that Cuétara captures this image and translates into paintings this peculiar space where modernity and history converge in each building. And from that very city that welcomed and seduces him, with each strike of the waves on the Malecón, Sinecio Cuétara continues his journey, unafraid to enter the labyrinths hidden in a blank canvas, until he finds a way out full of color, light, shapes and dreams.


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