Art Exhibition: Aisar Jalil’s “Onírica” in Havana

Maya Quiroga speaks to Cuban artist Aisar Jalil, whose “Onírica” collection will be exhibited at the Collage Habana Gallery in January and February and will then travel abroad. Jalil graduated from the National Art School of Camagüey and the Repin Institute in Leningrad and worked as a professor of sculpture for 15 years at Camagüey’s Professional School of Fine Arts and then at the Higher Institute of the Arts. Quiroga says, “Aisar Jalil’s work is like a fairy tale that combines goodness and wickedness. You can feel the dreams of a man who longs to live in pink house by the sea, along with Yana Elsa.” Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

The conversation with Cuban painter Aisar Jalil, of Lebanese origin, takes place at his workshop in Old Havana. While we talk, his paintbrushes give life to the “special mutant beings” that characterize his oneiric world.

Drama in his work: “There is a lot of drama in my stories,” he affirmed when asked about his relation with Yana Elsa. “Theatre drama is essential in my paintings. I’m always thinking of who is my main character in the midst of these choral stories.”

The urban environment has been a strong motivation for him. He still remembers the series he dedicated to Havana’s Monte Street. In it, he portrays the environment “with an inquisitive, caustic look, as well as the residents of that great stage that is Old Havana,” the artist recalls. That exhibition has had great international repercussions. “To me, it was just a chronicle of my environment and my time. However, in Portugal the audience re-contextualized it and that’s worth a lot. Now, I’m more accepted, better understood.” [. . .]

The keys to identity: His topics are neither Cuban nor universal. He confessed he drank from all the sources and got hold of the whole universal cultural heritage. That’s the essence. Many people look for identity outside. “The artistic DNA is inside you. That’s how Aisar emerged. That’s why critics say my work is unique. [. . .] The secret lies in a sort of fantasizing that comes from my imagination. I am an enemy of the censorship and even more of the self-censorship that are typical of some creators.” [. . .]

Aisar’s dreams: His upcoming exhibition Onírica will be shown at the Collage Habana Gallery. Aisar multiplies the hours to portray on canvas the images that come to his mind. The exhibit is a sort of continuation of “La tempestad y la calma” [2009]. “I keep making these zoomorphic images that are the mutants. According to Charles Darwin’s theory, only the strongest survive. Every country has its peculiarities, but climate change and economic crisis force man to adapt to new circumstances to survive. That’s why my characters have wings,” he says. Contrary to the previous exhibition, color has a more active leading role in Onírica, “intended to create more dramatic situations,” Aisar explains. The total profusion of color undoubtedly prevails in the three paintings entitled “Ciclón estacionario,” based on the meteorological expression area of high pressure.

In the selection of these 40 oil paintings, Aisar includes several series of small, middle, and large format: “Y hasta parece que sueñan,” recently displayed in Holguín province, “La vigilia” and “Antes que anochezca,” an appropriation of Reinaldo Arenas’ title, with all the paraphernalia characteristic of this writer.

“In the small format paintings I zoomed some of my representative characters, like María Ramos; Chivatas and chivatos, cabras and cabrones; Berracos.”  “I draw situations that invite the viewer to appreciate optimism and pessimism as well. All work that is not demagogic does this. When you read a novel by Balzac or Victor Hugo, the situations take you to a catharsis.”

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One thought on “Art Exhibition: Aisar Jalil’s “Onírica” in Havana

  1. aisar que bella imagen de portada aqui en google,precioso,me facino,nunca estudie pintura lo mio era de aficionado porque como le dije para mi el arte en algo que uno lleba dentro de su ser y aunque no pueda realizarlo,lo que haga es maravillozo,la musica es un trasporte a que otros como nosotros puedan sentirlo solo al escuchar como poder ver una pintura como deslisarce en el suelo por medio de una danza,cuyo cuerpo parece y siente que flota,el arte se lleba en el corazon y yo diria en todos el cuerpo a traves de la sangre.

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