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Cuba's Poster Art

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In the special exhibition ¡Cuba!, you can see re-creations of lush wetlands and dazzling coral reefs, but these aren’t the only vibrant colors and striking visuals on view. The closing section of this bilingual exhibition features a gallery of contemporary posters from some of the island nation’s most compelling artists and graphic designers.


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

Posters, often promoting government programs and state-sponsored events, have a long history as one of Cuba’s most iconic art forms, and they remain a popular medium for many designers today. 

“A poster puts your creativity and cunning to the test and challenges you to say something using just a few elements,” says designer Michele Miyares Hollands, an acclaimed Cuban poster artist whose work is featured in the exhibition—and who created the Cuban anole artwork for the exhibition’s advertising campaign. 


Illustration of an anole lizard with an aerial map of cuba on its body and iconic cuban words and photos on its dewlap.
Poster created by Michele Miyares Hollands to promote the !Cuba! exhibition.
© Michele Miyares Hollands

The original posters on view in the exhibition were made by silk-screening, a labor-intensive printing process in which individual colors are applied in separate steps, eventually resulting in a multilayered work where each print is truly one of a kind.

Among the works displayed are posters from the Pensamos Cuba series, a government-sponsored collection of posters and prints in which artists share their thoughts and feelings on everyday life in Cuba. 


Man with afro hairstyle containing a hair pick and the words Pensamos Cuba (left); cuban crocodile skull held in the outline of a hand (right).
Posters created for the Pensamos Cuba initiative.
© Edel Rodriguez Molano (Mola); © Michele Miyares Hollands

“Cuban art…offers a wide panorama of languages, themes, and modes of expression linked to the diversity of Cuban thought today,” says Hollands. “It channels much of the daily life of the people, acting as a strong critic on important issues.”

Want to learn more about Cuba’s art scene? Watch Hollands in conversation with ¡Cuba! co-curator Ana Porzecanski in the video below.



To see candid conversations with curators, tours of rarely seen collections, and more, follow the Museum on Facebook.