Rodríguez Olazábal

Ímóye: Wisdom and Understanding.

April 28, 2016

Born in Havana in 1955, Rodríguez Olazábal is rooted and deeply well-versed in Cuban religion, tradition, and history, on which he draws for his large-scale, mixed-media paintings and installations.  His extensive exhibition record spans 3 decades and includes institutions such as the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, The Louvre in Paris, The Modern Art Museum in Nijmegen, Holland, The Schomberg Center in New York City, and The Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in Sao Paulo among many others. His artwork is collected around the world, and is included in famed permanent collections in at least 10 countries.

Olazábal’s work is seen as exemplary of the Havana Renaissance because he is able to draw on historical religious and social symbols (such as icons of Ifa, a uniquely Afro-Cuban religion practiced in his home region) while continually producing imagery with a fully contemporary, even avant-garde, aesthetic sensibility.  His symbols invoke history and tradition; his drawings, laden with 3-dimensional collaged objects, larger-than-life figures, and mysteriously narrative scenes, are anything but Classical or derivative. They are intruiging to even the cursory viewer, and are lent more beauty by an understanding of Olazábal’s roots.


Rodríguez Olazábal is invited to participate in the conference, Afro Cuban Artist: A Renaissance. Conference website. Public Event Descriptions:

Exhibition: Ímóye: Wisdom and Understanding. Olazabal Flyer

This solo exhibition by world-renowned Cuban artist Rodríguez Olazábal features new work in mixed media, including a special, site-specific installation in soil and dust.  The artist draws deeply on symbols and traditions of Cuban history and religion, and will walk viewers through the exhibit in a translated lecture beginning at 5 PM on Thursday, April 28.  Free and open to the public.

Documentary Screening: Olazábal: A Maker of Objects

This documentary by MU Professor Juanamaria Cordones-Cook follows the artistic process of the artist Olazábal, wherein he explains the importance of religious and historical symbolism in his mixed-media artwork.  Screening begins at the Corner Playhouse at 6:15 PM on Thursday, April 28.  Free to MU affiliates.

Roundtable Discussion: Afro-Cuban Artists: A Renaissance

This roundtable will include all keynote speakers, and several presenters and honored guests of this international conference.  Panelists will discuss and answer questions on the theme of artistic and cultural renaissance in Cuba. Discussion begins at 3:15 Pm at the Hampton Inn, MU.  Free to MU affiliates.