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Havana 2019

XIII HAVANA Biennial - Detras del Muro

Public unveiling by the Artist and the participants on April 14th at 5:00 pm, Malecón 307 (corner with Calle Galiano)

New York, March 25th 2019: Emilio Perez is pleased to announce his participation in

Detras del Muro, an official exhibition of the XIII HAVANA Biennial, running from April 14th through May 12th, 2019.

Cuban-American artist Emilio Perez will present Huellas (Traces) a collaborative mural project with the participation of the residents of Centro Havana. Huellas will culminate in a performative intervention on April 14th at 5:00 pm, when the final work is revealed together by the artist and its participants as part of the Detras del Muro vernissage.

With the intent of organically integrating his artwork in the Havana landscape and simultaneously giving a voice to its residents, the artist has invited the local community to paint their visions on blank sheets of stenciling material that will later be used as a roadmap to create a large mural at the corner of the iconic Malecon and Calle Galiano overlooking the ocean. This project is part of the Detras del Muro exhibition curated by Juan Delgado.

Inspired by these preliminary drawings, the artist’s hand will intuitively create a graphic composition over the span of the wall echoing the feelings and spontaneity of the community in conversation with his visual language and style. The local community will then be again active protagonist at the unveiling of the work through peeling away the stencils to expose the finished mural underneath.

Speaking to the core of public art, Huellas (Traces) strives to humanize the urban environment and presents the community with a different perspective on the space where they live. It offers a connection between disciplines and ideas while bridging past, present and future. It is an ultimate homage to the community which shares a unique experience that culturally, socially and civically enriches their personal lives.

A short documentary and book featuring the development of the projects since its beginnings, detailing the collaboration with the local community and the final unveiling is in production.

Please follow the live development of the project on Instagram @emilioperezart


Dream Season, Midnight Moment - Time Square Arts, New York, NY

November 1 - 30, 2016 nightly from 11:57pm to Midnight

Video still of Dream Season, 2016

Inspired by the rhythms and energy of Times Square, Dream Season brings to life a series of collaged drawings, painted gestures and layers of atmospheric color that recall distant galaxies which ebb and flow like the never-ending crowds that pass through the city and the bodies of water that surround it.





Rendering of   A Simple Verse (Un Verso Sencillo), 2015  ,   Courtesy of Galerie Lelong

Rendering of A Simple Verse (Un Verso Sencillo), 2015, Courtesy of Galerie Lelong

A Simple Verse (Un Verso Sencillo), 2015

Acrylic painting on wood panel, 96 x 786 inches (244 x 1951 cm)

Project Detrás del Muro II. 12th Havana Biennial, May 22 – June 22, 2015

The site specific mural for the Havana Malecón, A Simple Verse, takes as inspiration the book of poems Versos Sencillos by Cuban poet and national hero Jose Marti y Perez. It is my largest artwork to date, and the first to be shown in Cuba, my parents’ country of birth. I created this mural with the intention of echoing the history of the country and my family, building upon the site’s past, present and future.

 Jose Marti, like my parents, was a Cuban exile in New York, where I was born and where he wrote and published Versos Sencillos in 1891. I feel very proud that this major piece will be exhibited in Havana, a city that until 2001 (the one time I visited) only existed in my dreams and imagination. It is uncanny to think that a place you have never physically been to could help define such a strong identity. As a first generation Cuban American, I have been overly exposed to the resentment, pride and nostalgia of my parents. Simultaneously I am American through the lens of the Cuban experience.

Built in the span of the fifty years after the US intervention in 1898, Havana’s Malecón is a continuous seawall boulevard that borders the city. It is one of the capital’s most relevant avenues, a silent witness to the history of the city that keeps its spirit alive.

 In my mural I want to capture the city’s dynamic life. While painting I followed a regular formal rhyming scheme and alliteration that worked like a reverberation of Marti’s book of poems. The rhythm that infuses the environs of the Malecón has underscored some of the country’s most tumultuous political events and has enjoyed the joyful festivity of countless carnival parades.

Marti’s verse Si ves un monte de espuma… is a direct reference to the sea which has always been a source of inspiration for me. This time it will directly face my artwork. The mural was built with 32 wooden panels partially tinted blue and green to play off the color shades of the ocean. However, the painting is done mainly in pastels to resemble the old faded paint of Havana’s buildings. I left some of the wood grain unpainted to bring out the wood’s colors; being exposed to the elements helps accelerate the natural aging process of the piece and amalgamates it with the crumbling Havana landscape.

 A Simple Verse is perhaps one of the largest portable outdoor art murals ever placed within a public space in the city of Havana. I follow my own technique of working the negative space out of the painting’s surface by using a hand cut stencil technique over layers of acrylic paint, resulting in a low-relief composition that builds a sense of three-dimensionality.