Cuban Art

Part of the ¡Cuba! exhibition.

Cuban poster art is displayed on the walls and an adult and two children use an interactive touch screen in the center of the gallery. The ¡Cuba! exhibition includes an interactive art “gallery”—a room where visitors can choose paintings, sculptures, or performance art created by Cuban artists to be projected on the walls. 
©AMNH/D. Finnin

Cuba’s Creative Spirit

From cinema and music to photography and sculpture, the arts are a dynamic and constantly evolving part of life in Cuba. The Cuban state has supported the arts through specialized schools, galleries, concert halls and many other cultural institutions and programs, but it has also stifled some artistic expression. Since the 1990s, reforms have allowed artists to travel abroad and sell their work more freely, and today, many Cuban artists collaborate with artists outside Cuba and display or perform their work on the global stage.

Cuban Posters in Context

These posters were all created within the past decade by a new generation of Cuban artists. Most of the artworks on display were commissioned by state-run cultural institutions to advertise plays, films, festivals, and concerts, but recent years have also seen a blossoming of art and design as a private enterprise. 

City of Havana perched atop a large rock (left); boy looking up towards the sky, his scarf blowing in the wind (right).
Promotional poster for the film 7 Días en la Habana (left); promotional poster for the film Conducta (right).
© Giselle Monzón Calero; © Raúl Valdés González (Raupa)
Hand holding a piece of film which transforms into the head of a snake (left); Lipstick case with the lid removed, displaying the lipstick (right).
Advertisement for the 19th National Workshop of Film Criticism in Camaguey (left); poster promoting an exhibition of the work of renowned cuban poster artist Paul René Azcuy Cardenas (right).
© Michele Miyares Hollands; © Nelson Ponce Sanchez
Skull in a drinking glass (left); cuban crocodile skull held in the outline of a hand (right).
Promotional poster for the play Dos Viejos Pánicos (left); “Thinking about Cuba”, a state-sponsored initiative inviting artists to share their feelings through their work (right).
© Michele Miyares Hollands; © Michele Miyares Hollands
Man playing a horn type of instrument shaped like a shell (left);  man with afro hairstyle containing a hair pick and the words Pensamos Cuba (right).
Advertisement for the Havana World Music Festival (left); "Thinking About Cuba" initiative, evoking the challenges confronting Cuba (right).
© Edel Rodriguez Molano (Mola); © Edel Rodriguez Molano (Mola)
Lion-like, fanciful animal character (left); man putting on sunglasses, a variety of spanish words overlaying all but his face (right).
Poster promoting exhibit of children’s book illustrations (left); advertisement for the 11th Biennial Havana Arts Festival (right).
© Nelson Ponce Sanchez; © Michele Miyares Hollands


Top posters:  © Giselle Monzón Calero; © Michele Miyares Hollands; © Nelson Ponce Sanchez

Check out more of the exhibition—explore Afro-Cuban religion.