Like a Good Perfume, miniature art exhibition

Like a Good Perfume is the exhibition currently hosted by the city's Office of the Historian, where more than 50 works by creators from seven Cuban provinces converge, who - through miniature art - approach a multidisciplinary range of techniques, styles, and worldviews, to the delight of the curious eye.

Like a Good Perfume, miniature art exhibitionLas Tunas, Cuba.- From paintings on the surface of seeds to paintings made of asphalt, the 29 artists are surprising not only for the quality of their proposals but also for their unique presentation in several cases. Landscapes, abstract, portraits, naïf art, conceptual or surrealist pieces do not escape inspiration. Likewise, engravings, pyrography, works in acrylic or oil on canvas, and a variety of techniques, give treatment to a variety of themes, which - for example - reflect Martí, a country sunrise, a nude or a marine with an air of Van Gogh.

"Yes you can make art," José Ángel Naranjo, leader of the Perspectiva Project and who is in charge of Miniaturism in the eastern region, told 26. He demonstrates how, given the scarcity of materials for painting, it is possible to look for alternatives, and so he shares with viewers a trilogy of pictures painted with asphalt on cardboard. Thus, the landscapes emanate from this substance guided by his talent, making it possible to perceive a stream, donkey plants, and other elements of our countryside.

But Naranjo is not the only one to embrace this variant. From workshops offered by the Perspectiva Project in different areas of the country, other authors have taken it up, some of whom are exhibiting on this occasion, such as Rubiceldys Barnal (from Holguín) and the artist from Las Tunas Evelin Paneque, the latter being the youngest in the exhibition.

According to the creator, the exhibition is also a tribute to Alicia Góngora Santiesteban, who "is no longer with us, but her work is there." Havana's Agustín Calviño (Gólgota) and Manuel Izquierdo Castañeda, Raudel Morales Caballero from Camagüey, Nelson Wuenseslao García from Espiritu, Fidel Silvente Palacios from Holguín and Alexis Roselló Labrada from Tunisia are some of the artists taking part in the exhibition.


Like a Good Perfume, miniature art exhibition

Naranjo, with more than 30 personal exhibitions and a hundred collective ones in his curriculum, says that some time ago, the Miniaturism known in the country was practically that of the pieces that were on some utilitarian object, say earrings, rings, and similar accessories. This led people to think that they were handicrafts, which is not the case.

"Despite its small format, it is an art of great artists, because it is not an easy task to paint on a seed or a grain of rice, for example. It is not the medium that determines the work, but its quality. Moreover, it is internationally recognized, and in Cuba, it has its genesis in aboriginal pieces."

According to the specialist, up to ten centimeters in planimetric works and six centimeters in three-dimensional ones have been agreed upon at meetings held on the island, to distinguish these "small treasures."

Another colleague caught by creation in small proportions is Liusan Cabrera, who has shown mastery of different pictorial expressions. "Although I don't consider myself a miniaturist, I started experimenting with it ten years ago, thanks to Naranjo's insistence. In this case, motivated by Van Gogh's seascapes, I produced the work I am showing now, where the imprint of that master can be seen in the movement of the brushstroke, but not in the colors and other aspects, as I tried to imbue it with my stamp."

Juan Carlos Hidalgo Gómez also works in other formats, but with the arrival of COVID-19, he discovered that "tiny magic" and since then he has been passionate about producing landscapes on this scale. "I like it, it entertains me, it takes me out of stress..., I enjoy it a lot," he says.

This art is growing, driven by makers like those of Perspectiva, a brotherhood that in little more than 20 years of life has managed to push the work in other provinces as well, and the founding in 2017 of the first permanent miniature room in Cuba (Campechuela, Granma), attests to this. Proof that, as the saying goes, good perfume comes in small bottles.