Manuel Mendive
El Arbol de Mango II, 2013
Jacquard tapestry
edition of 3

Manuel Mendive, possibly Cuba’s most celebrated and influential contemporary artist, creates work that combines Afro-Cuban historical inspiration with a consideration of modern-day struggles. Mendive’s diverse output — drawing, painting, body painting, sculpture, performance and dance — has always been deeply rooted in Yoruba mythology and the Santería religion, giving his work an unmistakable Afro-Cuban sensibility from the start. Additionally, the mature artist’s travels to Africa in the 1980s “gave new energy and depth to his work,” writes Veerle Poupeye, “and he adopted a more informal idiom that expresses an animist, sexually suggestive vision of nature acted out by hybrid, amorphous figures.” This stylized cast of spiritually energized flora and fauna finds a new medium in Mendive’s 2013 tapestry editions, El Arbol de Mango (The Mango Tree) II and La Fuga del Crepusculo (Ephemeral Dusk), published by Magnolia Editions.

-Nick Stone