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Pedro Pablo Oliva


PEDRO PABLO OLIVA studied painting and drawing at the Academy of Plastic and Applied Arts in Pinar del Río (1961- 1965), and later graduated from the National School of Art of Cubanacán, in Havana (1970). He is a member of the International Association of Plastic Artists (AIAP) and of the National Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC). Throughout a half century of artistic career, he has taught in the artistic education schools of his country and has been a jury of multiple national and international competitions. His work has been awarded in several competitions, being exhibited in more than twenty personal exhibitions and hundreds of group exhibitions in galleries, biennials and art fairs in Cuba and numerous countries. Today, a significant number of his masterpieces have become part of well known public and private collections in Cuba and the world, including the large inventory treasured by the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana. In consideration of his role as tutor to several generations of young artists, Oliva has been named Emeritus Artist by the Higher Institute of Art (ISA) in Havana, and has been awarded the "Master of Youth" Award (2007), awarded by the Society of young artists Asociación Hermanos Saíz. For his meritorious creative career, his tireless philanthropic work - carried out fundamentally through the Casa Pablo Taller Pedro Oliva cultural foundation (1997-2011) - and his essential contribution to Cuban culture, has won wide recognition among his contemporaries and honours of the highest level such as the Order for National Culture (1988), the National Prize for Plastic Arts (2006) or the "The Utility of Virtue" Award, the latter awarded by the José Martí Cultural Society, holds the Medal of Member of Honour of the FAO and the Alejo Carpentier Medal, among others. In 1991 he was the first artist living on the island to exhibit in New York after 1959, and in 1993 his work entered the circuit of the most important auction houses such as Christie's and Sotheby's, thus playing a leading role for the international recognition of Cuban art made on the Island. In the last five years, the following personal exhibitions stand out. 2015 "Utopias and Dissidences", La Mina Art Studio, OPEN STUDIO 12th Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba; 2016 "Travel Notes", Rubén Martínez Villena Public Library Gallery, Havana, Cuba and "Faces of an Island", ArteMorfosis Gallery, Zürich, Switzerland. In 2017, “In body and soul. Bronzes by Pedro Pablo Oliva ”, Wifredo Lam Center for Contemporary Art, Havana, Cuba. "Lightness and weight", Pinar del Río Art Museum, Pinar del Río. 2018 "Dos Patrias: Cuba and the night". Toth Gallery, New York. USA and “Pedro Pablo Oliva’s Cuba: histories”, shows retrospective at Scarfone / Hartley Gallery. University of Tampa. Florida. USA, "Scared of everything". Casa8 Gallery, FCBC, Havana, CUBA. In 2019, during the 13th Havana Biennial, he participated in the OPEN STUDIO modality, with recent works in his La Mina Art Studio. Old Havana, CUBA and "The Art of Pedro Pablo Oliva", Harn Museum. La Bulla Cubana Festival, Gainesville. Florida, USA. STATEMENT OF THE ARTIST I have always tried to link my life with creation. I believe in everyday life, that of conflict, that of contradictions; there is precisely the theme and the germ so as not to turn the work into a daily repetition. I have tried to be a chronicler of my time, something like a kind of pictorial press or plastic newscast. Everything that happens forces me to use different shapes, themes and images. But beyond political or social events, I have tried to look at man, his psychological dimension, with his strengths and weaknesses. I enjoy moving between drawing, painting and sculpture with an eye on the specific situation of my country, but also on human conflicts that are universal. I think the truth is closer to everyday man. If my spiritual state is chaos or the context is chaos, chaos is the work; if the situation is confused, the work is confused.