One Race, The Human Race / Una Raza, La Raza Humana

Closing Reception: Thu, Mar 13, 4:30-8pm

Well over 500 people crammed into the Armory for the February 20 Una Raza opening at Walk on White, and were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime performance by Manuel Mendive’s painted dancers (images below).

If you missed it (or if you just want to see it again), check out the video by Wonderdog Productions.

TSKW- Cuban Artist Mendive – “Blue Mangoes” from marky pierson on Vimeo.

KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Some of Cuba’s leading contemporary artists are to debut their work in Key West Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 20-22, as part of a groundbreaking Cuban-American art exchange that is believed to be the first in more than 50 years.

As a feature of the exchange, an exhibition of 30 intaglio prints by the late Key West folk artist Mario Sanchez debuted Jan. 17 at Cuba’s Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana. A second-generation American of Cuban descent, Sanchez was famed for his painted bas-relief carvings that chronicled Key West life and its racial, religious and gender harmony in the early 1900s.

Enthusiasts can meet the Cuban artists in Key West and view nearly 120 pieces of their work during unveilings and other events at five venues in the island city’s historic Old Town.

With the following participating organizations and partners: Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, Florida Keys Council of the Arts, Oldest House & Garden Museum, and Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.

Scroll down to view the list of events

THE ARTISTS

Artist (Havana): Mario Sanchez

Artists (Key West): Ruben Alpízar, Roberto Fabelo, Mendive, The Merger, Sandra Ramos, Rocío, Stainless, Reynerio Tamayo

More about the artists

EXHIBITION VENUES AND PROGRAMS

Jan 17 – April 17
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba
Mario Sanchez Exhibition, Una Raza, La Raza Humana

Tue Feb 18
Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton Street.
Screening and discussion 6:30pm
Unfinished Spaces, about Cuba’s famous National Art Schools

Thu Feb 20
The Studios of Key West, 600 White Street
Artists: Mendive, Fabelo, Rocío (Main Hall exhibition)
Sandra Ramos (Space 2 exhibition)
Opens Thu Feb 20, 6-9pm
On view Feb 20-Mar 14
600 White Street, Key West FL 33040
305-296-0458

Scheduled artists include world-renowned sculptor and painter Manuel Mendive, whose performance art featuring body-painted dancers is to debut at 7 p.m.; respected painter, illustrator and sculptor Roberto Fabelo; Sandra Ramos, whose artistry explores the harsh realities of Cuban life; and Rocio Garcia, a cartoon-inspired master of works that tell vivid stories.

Fri Feb 21
Florida Keys Council of the Arts, Gato Building, 1100 Simonton Street.
Artists: Ruben Alpizar and Reinerio Tamayo (paintings and sculpture)
Opens Fri Feb 21, 5-7pm
On view Feb 21-Mar 6

The evening’s events also include a debut at the historic Gato Building, a former cigar factory at 1100 Simonton St. that is now home to the Florida Keys Council of the Arts. Featured there are Ruben Alpizar, whose paintings and sculptures reference wide-ranging historic figures, and contemporary painter/sculptor Reinerio Tamayo, known for a series on the sport of baseball, which is beloved in both Cuba and Key West.

Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, 907 Whitehead Street.
Artists: The Merger
Opens Fri Feb 21, 6-8pm
On view Feb 21-Mar 14

Friday’s focus is on the Merger, three sculptors of large-scale satirical works, showcasing pop art-inspired creations at the 907 Whitehead St. home where Ernest Hemingway lived for much of the 1930s. The site is particularly fitting since the legendary author had close ties to Cuba as well as Key West.

Sat Feb 22
Oldest House & Garden Museum, 322 Duval Street.
Artist: Xavier Cortada
Opens Sat Feb 22, 5-7pm
On view Feb 22-Mar 14
305-294-9501

Cortada is a Cuban American artist from Miami whose ambitious projects worldwide address themes of multiculturalism and the environment. For the Oldest House, he suggests Cuba and Key West’s shared heritage through the flowers which Ponce de Leon may have encountered when he arrived and named our state “La Floridita”. Participants may send a drawing or message to a child in Cuba, and take home a packets of native seeds to dedicate a flower garden to them.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, 200 Greene Street.
Artist: Sandra Ramos
Closing celebration Sat Feb 22, 6-8pm
305-294-2633

The cultural celebration is to conclude Saturday with the debut of a massive sculpture by Ramos at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, 200 Greene St. Titled “The Bridge” and representing the Florida Straits crossing from Cuba to Key West, the sculpture is large enough for people to walk across. Plans call for multicultural dance performances that incorporate the piece in a symbolic reconnecting of the two islands and their cultures.