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El Gran Abuelo - The Great Grandfather

Oil on canvas

164 x 238 cm

Not For Sale

This great canvas from 2004 lends its name to a series of portraits that Pedro Pablo Oliva made from 2003 and until a short time before Fidel Castro Ruz died (and the figure of the Cuban statesman had appeared in his works since the early 90s ). He rests in a room, in his pyjamas - a "Commander's pyjamas", as the artist himself calls it - and with a cat between his legs, the leader of the Cuban Revolution sits in a wicker chair. The image discards the epic story and the political icon in search of a non-existent everyday man for the collective memory of Pedro Pablo Oliva's generation, the one who should have existed and that propaganda and myth blurred for millions of Cubans and for the world. One day the artist realises that, despite having seen his image every day, everywhere and at all times since he was just a ten-year-old boy, in reality Fidel Castro, the man behind the costume designed by his own propaganda apparatus, he was a perfect stranger. With his imagination Pedro Pablo Oliva begins to turn the family spectrum of photographs, billboards and long televised speeches into a person of flesh and blood.