Culture, Migrants, Multiculture, Our People, Visual Arts

Ascanio Cuba: muralist and immigrant

He is 32 years old and since he left his country, he has had a very personal mission: to capture it in his works and create an ‘artistic bridge’ between his homeland and his host country.

 

Frank González

 

A dozen murals made by himself or with other painters are part of the work of this young Cuban, including those dedicated to the television host and producer Paolo Limiti, the singer-songwriter Enzo Jannacci and the film critic Morando Morandini.

Others such as “Colours of Adriano Park”, dedicated to Franca Rame, wife of Darío Fo, “The travel wall”, at the Forlanini metro station and “Castellamare, street art and the Ascanio wall”, reflect recreated realities with paint brush, in line with the best tradition of Mexican muralism. Ascanio lives in Italy, in Milan, and also works on screen printing in his “Serigrafia Experience Lab” workshop, inaugurated with the support of the Artepasante Association, which is attended by students and people interested in knowing the secrets of this technique.

Born in Santiago de Cuba and graduated in painting and design at the José Joaquín Tejada Academy of Plastic Arts, he began his working life at the René Portocarrero Silk/screen Printing Laboratory, in Havana.

At that time his name was Danis Montero, after his father, Danis Montero Ortega, a renowned painter and professor in the Department of Art History of the Universidad de Oriente, to whom he feels very close due to the filial bond and his personal and professional training.

In an interview with Prensa Latina, he explained that he took as his  stage name the surname of his maternal grandfather, whom he loved very much and whom he decided to honour in that way.

Upon arriving in Italy, he added the name of ‘Cuba’, his country, for which he feels a strong sense of belonging and patriotic vocation that he manifests through his participation in the activities of the National Coordinator of Cuban Residents in Italy (Conaci) .

In this context, he donated two paintings to the new headquarters of the Cuban consulate in Milan, as well as another to the medical brigade that helped to confront Covid-19 in the city of Crema, and carried out a live painting session in a space created by Conaci, broadcasted in internet, during social isolation due to Covid-19.

He talks about Cuba with emotion and a lot of nostalgia and as a permanent source of inspiration, as the place where his roots are and whose culture he represents even if it is geographically far away.

“Climbing to the future” has been one of his main lines of work for some years, represented in his works by the silhouette of a person “projected rising forwards”, seeking to show the determination of the human being to overcome any obstacle to achieve their objectives.

In this series he included “Diarios”, a collection of 10 unpublished paintings in silk/screen printing on paper, made and authenticated in the René Portocarrero Laboratory on the figure of Commandante Ernesto Ché Guevara, with a limited edition of 50 copies each, for which he had the support of the Cubeart Association.

Ascanio recognizes himself in that figure (the silhouette), present in his works as a hallmark of authorship, in a very competitive environment in which he gradually builds his own space through street art and a presence in individual and collective exhibitions.

It was with “My first dinner in Milan”, the painting with which he debuted as a painter in January 2015 in Italy, where the artist appears immersed “in a contemporary historical moment”, accompanied by immigrants like him, instead of apostles represented in “The Last Supper”, by Leonardo Da Vinci.

For him these “people were immigrants like me, who spoke different languages. (…) It was very interesting because I located the event in the central railway station of Milan, which I wanted to highlight as a gateway to and from the city, a place for meeting, dialogue and social exchange.”

From a technical point of view, he works a lot with acrylic on canvas, although “sometimes I make things that are charcoal, or work with a spatula, resources that sometimes help you enrich the work.” (PL)

(Translated by Mónica del Pilar Uribe Marín) Photos: Pixabay

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