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Manuel Mendive

The Magic Forest

April 27, 2016

Manuel Mendive is considered by many to be the most important living artist in Cuba today, and he is known internationally. Born in Havana in 1944, he attended the San Alejandro School of Arts. He has exhibited his paintings and sculptures in Cuba, Spain, France, Russia, Somalia, Benin, Congo, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Jamaica, and the United States, among other countries. His works are held in collections in world-known centers and museums, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Paris, the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Ethnography in Budapest, the National Museum of Tanzania, the Cultural Center of Manila, the Philippines, and the Atlantic Center for Modern Art in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.

Manuel Mendive is also a Santeria priest, whose spirituality permeates his art in several genres: drawing, painting, body painting, woodcarving, soft and metal sculpture, installations, and performances that are loosely choreographed with African rhythms and Baroque music. Mendive came of age and thrived as an artist after the 1959 Cuban revolution. He has received many prestigious awards, including the José María Heredia Medal of Distinction (Cuba); the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (France); and other recognitions and prices from Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, and Bulgaria.