Juan Moreira, Cuban (1938 - )

Juan nació en la ciudad de La Habana en 1938. En 1958 se graduó, especializándose en dibujo,de la Escuela de Artes y Oficios en esa misma capital. En 1963 se graduó de la Escuela de Artes Plásticas de San Alejandro en La Habana.

Es miembro de la Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC) y de la Asociación Internacional de Artistas Plásticos.

For Cuban painter Juan Moreira, art and especially painting is a mystery which, in his opinion, nobody have fathomed yet.

Along more than 40 years moving a paintbrush upwards and downwards or left to right, Moreira considers the artistic creation act as mysterious as the first day he chose painting as his main reason in life.

That`s why he qualifies his works as children born, grew up and afterwards take their own way and destiny, no matters the frecuency he meets them. All his works have their own life and go far beyond the expectatives of their initial stages inside the artist.

He feeds his imagination of such simple facts like walking by the street or travelling in a public vehicle, doing his labor with the intention of not giving his creations, but as children, they left him to appear on collectionists´ hands or in posession of Cultural Institutions.

The cuban painter reflects on the fact, to draw lines not always requires an academic
formation, but the capacity of having inside any message to transmit. The artist took an example to illustrate his art conception from a Cuban farmer (called in Cuba guajiros), in the oriental province of Guantánamo, who began to cut stones with his machete and a hammer to transform them into animals and made a zoo of stone, admirable for every visitor.

Then, the guantanamero artist received more adequate tools and maybe any academic course, but carrying the art inside, one day he felt the necessity of express it. The same thing happened with ''El Bárbaro del Ritmo'', the Cuban singer and composer Benny Moré, who having a lowly origin and the worst and less-qualified jobs, managed to direct a great orchestra and become one of the most renown figure within the so-called popular music, expresses the artist.

'' Being very young, I used to comment with some friends I did not like Wifredo Lam´s style but some day a friend invited me to see one of Lam´s paintings. I was ascending the stairways when suddenly I met Lam´s painting and it was a virtual hit. I so was impressed with that picture that I remained hours staring at it, analyzing how from simple lines an amaizing energy and strength was coming producing a sort of electric shock.''

Since Moreira started to think about the art´s mysteries; even those people not so expert on the subject are sometimes amazed by an essence which only real artists are capable to catch, proccess and express. In Moreira´s opinion the closer subject to Painting is Literature and is sure that is the same opinion of many painters. In his early stages, he wrote short stories, thoughts but finally he became a painter and there are many writers who felt the other way around: they start at painting. For example, Martí, who was a great thinker and writer, made minimal drawings in repeated ocassions. Nicolás Guillén drew sometimes. Rabindranath Tagore, the great Hindu poet, in a stage of his life, painted and made expositions. The Spanish poet Federico García Lorca was also in the same case.

Talking about the stages he roamed in painting, Moreira explains the critics has established three main stages: an initial phase of searching, inserted in what he called ''Magic Realism'', the second called ''Organic-Erotism'' and the latest ''African and Indigenous Roots''.

In the first stage he was very young and was searching for a way, an own style, painting historical and political personalities citing Martí, Maceo, Ché, Camilo,etc; afterwards he recreated the man and woman´s sex with nature and since six years he paints African and Indigenous roots, after a careful study of codices and leyends from these cultures so associated to our America.

The fact is that, through my life, says Moreira, life`s philosophy is changing, in a specific moment we can think more about sex, now, it seems I am more interesed in Cuban History and Culture, with syncretism, mites and leyends of Precolombian and Subsaharano origins forming part of my personal culture.

Of course, he adds, critics has stated that in all stages there is a link, because is the same person, with the same line, drawings and colours.

In a review of his personal life, the Cuban Painter remembers the first years of his existence in which poverty hit him so much that he can hardly study 5 levels of scholarship and worked at the most troublesome jobs, among others, cleaning an enormous place.

Although his begginings in painting was similar to any child of his age, he realized that painting was the reason of his future. He became commercial posters maker and barrier painter; afterwards, he studied and became professor of Fine Arts School of San Alejandro, in Havana.

Being in this moments a well-known and remarkable painter in Cuba and abroad, Moreira does not paint for commercial purposes, he creates to satisfy an inner call stimulating him to take the paintbrush and other tools without thinking in something else.

'' I never think that if I paint something pretty, someone is going to buy it. No, I paint because I like it. If I sell, good, but during years I teached painting and painted not for sale. I just gave my paintings as presents. Afterwards the commercialization of paintings for institutions began, for collectors, although a real artist never works with the idea he is going to sell paintings to improve his life''.

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