Rafael Consuegra (Santiago de Cuba, 1957) was recently featured in Granma International’s “Culture” section. He was interviewed at the National Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC) during his recent participation in the 11th Havana Biennial (May-June, 2012). Consuegra is a sculptor known for his unique vision and remarkable skill in giving life to metal. His sculptures range from miniatures and medium-sized pieces to monumental works.
Consuegra, who graduated from the Advanced Institute of Arts (ISA) in 1983, had his first one-man exhibition—Montages, Ensamblajes—in 1985. He has participated in more than 70 collective shows in Cuba, Brazil, China, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Spain, the United States, Martinique, Mexico, El Salvador, Venezuela, Gabon, and Austria. His sculptures are part of collections in Havana’s Servando Cabrera Moreno Museum; Vienna’s Contemporary Arts Museum; the Emilio Bacardi Museum in Santiago de Cuba and the Small Format Sculpture Museum in Las Tunas province; and in cultural centers in Nayarit, Mexico, and Bratislava, Czech Republic; and the Bernardo Quetglas Collection, Majorca, Spain.
What is there special about sculpture which made you adopt it as a means of expression? I knew about monumental sculpture [. . .] in cities. That’s the reference I had. I began studying painting and discovered sculpture in school, with magnificent professors like Frómeta, Guarionex. From the formal point of view, I was interested in its relation with space, the sense of volume itself, and that was closer to what I wanted to say. I decided on it from secondary school. I discovered and fell in love with sculpture. [. . .]
How do you arrive at or select a theme? Your motivations? It’s a derivation. When I was in school I had a particular interest in movement, rhythm, balance; that brought me to dance, sport, which places human beings at its center. Afterward, although there were no religious practices in my home, I moved toward Catholicism and Afro-Cuban religions, from which I learned the atmosphere, congas, carnivals, ceremonial drumming and their rituals, but I was never a celebrant or practiced them. In any event, the congas and drumming introduced me to rhythm. My theme has always been human beings. The religious aspects led to states of mind of believers, social issues and, from there, I became interested in day to day and universal aspects. That’s what I’m doing now, humans and their environment, with their social development, their aspirations and frustrations. [. . .]
What are you working on at present? I’m working on a project for a symposium in Santiago de Cuba of which I have many expectations because I have pieces in many provinces but not in my native city, just one medium-sized one in the Bacardí Museum collection. Now I’m doing one for an outside area, I conceived it in metal and the theme is mine: human beings, society. It is to be called “El despegue” [Take-off]. [. . .]
For full article and interview, see http://www.granma.cu/ingles/culture-i/28jun-rafael.html