Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes gleam an intense blue, reminiscent of the color of the ocean. Her bright red lips curve upward into an enigmatic smile and as if she were imitating the Mona Lisa — it sort of disappears if you look at it for too long. It’s not the same way with the painting of Marilyn Monroe, which hangs alongside it. Her flirtatious smile is immense, a cascade of stark white teeth and feminine charm which scream: I’m here and life is a party.
The paintings by Colombian artist Nestor Gonzalez Alonso were among hundreds of artworks exhibited this week at Doral’s Carlos Albizu University as part of Art Fest @ Doral, an event that brought artists from about 20 different countries under one roof. Among the artists in attendance at were artists from Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela.
The vast collection of artworks — including paintings, drawings, sculptures and engravings — illustrated the latest trends and the sophistication of Latin American art, although some of the works on exhibit also stemmed from locations as remote as India and Serbia.
One of the exhibition rooms was dedicated to art from Cuba. At the center of the room, a large painting of an old man covering his mouth demanded attention. It was the work of Alejandra Oliva, a young Cuban artist.
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The painting, called Rostro or “Face,” has a green border and a range of tones similar to that of a camouflage uniform. The colors are suggestive of a theme tied with nature but the eyes of the man are heavy with pain and tell the viewer something else.
“The motivation behind this painting is evident, what it’s trying to express is clear,” said Jorge Romero, an artist who brought some of the paintings from Cuba.
“It has to do with nature but it also speaks of the drama that we can see played out on someone’s face and in their eyes, about what man is seeing and going through on a daily basis.”
A few feet away was Selection, a sculpture by artist Alejandro Sainz. The sculpture is made up of books drawn out of wood and attached by a large clamp.
The sculpture suggests the force that is required for the unification of ideas.
Sainz, who traveled from Cuba to participate in the exhibition, said that a part of the sculpture was finished in a studio in Hialeah but that most of it was done in Cuba.
Another section of the exhibition featured the art of Cuban Mexican artist Thelma Delgado and consisted mostly of the naked backs of two women.
But the installation was not trying to convey the physical beauty of women and instead focused on the spiritual evolution of the human being as it discovers its own light.
“Basically what’s being exhibited is the evolution of the soul expressed in the form of a woman. It’s the evolution of light reaching the soul and it’s an evolutionary process because in the artwork we can see that there’s areas that are still dark,” Delgado explained.
The organizers of the exhibition were pleased by the quality of the art gathered for the festival’s eleventh edition.
“We’ve become the largest festival to be held in a university in Florida, without a doubt,” said Noel Santiesteban, one of the exhibition’s founders. “It’s the most important international art festival after Art Basel. In these 11 years, more than 3,000 artists from 48 countries around the world have exhibited their work here.”
Follow Antonio María Delgado on Twitter @DelgadoAntonioM