JOSÉ ÁNGEL TOIRAC, WINNER OF THE CUBA NATIONAL PLASTIC ARTS PRIZE
José Ángel Toirac was awarded with the National Prize for Plastic Arts in Havana, Cuba. This means the greatest recognition that the Caribbean country gives to Cuban artists. The celebration was held on January 26 in front of an imposing jury: Eduardo Roca Salazar (Choco), previous winner of the award, and the artists José Manuel Fors, Ever Fonseca, Ernesto Fernández, José Villa, Osneldo García, Nelson Domínguez, Pedro of Oraá and Lázaro Saavedra, among other artists. In addition, curators Hilda María Rodríguez, Maikel Rodríguez Calviño and Gabriela Hernández participated in the jury.
Declared by the jury as "a mandatory reference in the history of the most current island art" in Cuba, José Ángel Toirac exhibited more than thirty times individually in Brussels, Havana, Miami, New York, Paris and Toronto. Also, all his work, awarded on other occasions, have been of great influence in Cuban contemporary art of the new generations, establishing a new conceptual and creative framework.
With 30 years of experience, Toirac's work has explored all the fields referring to Cuban history and its myths. His art, mainly, is characterized by appropriation of archival materials that build the history of the island country in order to give it a twist and facilitate the opening of history, as a story, towards new interpretations. Among his most recognized productions are his series of figurative paintings by Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Camilo Cienfuegos or other revolutionaries under advertising slogans or logos of internationally recognized brands.
There is no doubt that the National Prize of Plastic Arts of Cuba is the highest award that an artist from that country can aspire to achieve. As they explained, the decision of the jury was not unanimous, which for Toirac was a joy as it highlights the many other great artists who are able to obtain it. Initiated by the Ministry of Culture in 1994, the year in which Raúl Martínez was awarded, the National Art Award of Cuba is the country's greatest honor for a visual artist.