Statement from Robert Van de Peer
I was very pleased to be invited by Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre to exhibit the works of ten contemporary Cuban printmakers. The ten artists featured in this exhibition are people who I have worked with over the past six years, at the Taller Cultural Luis Diaz Eduardo in Santiago De Cuba.
My first contact with Cuban artists began in 2012. On that occasion, Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre was invited to represent Maritime printmakers as part of an International Print Biennale held in Santiago De Cuba. We complied, and so over the last few years a body of Cuban original prints was compiled to reciprocate that honour as a recognition of the Cuban artists’ interest in Canada and Canadian art. This exhibition could be seen as a bridge that might well form a creative relationship between our two countries, wherein Cuban artists may wish to work here in Saint Andrews, as well as in other parts of the Maritimes.
My part-time residence in Cuba over the past six years has given me the opportunity to teach non-toxic techniques in printmaking and form a close relationship with Cuban artists, the results of which are displayed in this current exhibition.
Cuban printmakers are limited by the availability of materials, and the most common technique that is used is the collagraph, a print made from a matrix of cardboard and glue. They have refined this process to a fine degree and it is a method of printing that is abundant throughout this exhibit. There are fewer etchings on show because copper plates are not easily available to artists in Cuba. Taller Cultural has an efficient lithography studio, but they often lack the supplies necessary to carry out the processing required for this technique, and so, the collagraph remains the most prevalent technique as the materials needed are those most readily available to the artists.
The content and nature of their creative ideas are often dream-like, romantic in many ways and have a distinct echo of Africa, brought to the island through the early slave trade. It is a colourful lineage that is also a quality found in their music and dance routines. The viewer will notice a spiritual content found in many of the Cuban prints. The content of their creations, though not always easy to decipher, captures their world, and in part, conjures a mystery that remains in the works that are presented in this unique exhibition.
Fortunately, this exhibit will travel throughout New Brunswick. The inaugural exhibition opens at Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre, Saint Andrews, then travels to Saint John Art Centre, followed by its final destination at the Andrew & Laura McCain Art Gallery in Florenceville-Bristol, NB.
Robert Van de Peer, Master Printmaker, Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre
Gracias / Thank You
The organizers of this exhibit would like to thank: the Cuban artists for allowing their work to be exhibited here in Canada; Robert Van de Peer for making this exhibit possible; our sponsors, the Province of New Brunswick’s Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture; artsVest, a project of Business for the Arts; and Salty Towers
Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre, St. Andrews, NB: June 8 – June 28, 2018
Saint John Arts Centre, Saint John, NB: July 6 -August 31, 2018
Andrew & Laura McCain Gallery, Florenceville-Bristol, NB: Sept. 15 – Oct. 13, 2018
All prints are for sale at $300