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Nelson Domínguez: «What we must not lack is culture» (+photos and video)

The Chartrand Hall was too small to show the 160 pieces that make up the exhibition My Friend Alicia, by Nelson Domínguez Cedeño, winner of the National Plastic Arts Award.

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«This exhibition is very large, so the smaller works have been exhibited first, and the larger ones will be open to the public soon. It contains two drawings that always bring me a bit of sadness because they are sketches that I made for Alicia and were among the last gifts given to her during her lifetime.

«Missing here, for me, is the most interesting painting I have ever done, called Alicia ave nacional (Alicia the national bird). To my pride Alicia’s husband said that if a fire occurred in the Alicia Alonso Museum and he had to save a painting, he would rescue Alicia ave nacional.»

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Alicia Alonso inspired and inspires him so much that throughout his career the artist has dedicated a good part of his work to try to reflect the graceful movement of her dance. If you look at them carefully, these works that I have done are studio works, at different moments of my career.

I am seduced by an image as cimera and relevant as Alicia Alonso.

«I have three models: Robaina, Fidel and Alicia; they are characters I have worked on a lot. Now I included Martí because I have an exhibition dedicated to the Apostle in Tampa, United States».



Fourteen oil paintings and nine drawings make up the first part of the exhibition that remains at the recently renovated headquarters of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba in Matanzas.

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The exhibition offers multiple views from different formats and at different moments of Dominguez Cedeño’s artistic career about the prima ballerina assoluta, with whom he shared a long-lasting and special friendship.

The selection of pieces, like the overall exhibition, manages to capture the spirit of the dance thanks to the creator’s remarkable knowledge of ballet and its technique, which is especially evident in the drawings.


The exhibition also includes two chairs: one with Alicia’s signature stamped on the backrest and another whose structure simulates the hands and parts of a dancer.

The second selection of pieces will be open to the Yumurina public on October 10, when the activities of the Day of Culture and the anniversary of the city of rivers and bridges will begin.

José Manuel Espino, president of the Matanzas branch of UNEAC, referred to this as an early gift for the upcoming 330th anniversary of the founding of the city.

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Nelson Domínguez shared the joy of being part of the celebration. «Matanzas is Havana’s big sister and the closest one. This is a great capital, of great artists, where I am fortunate to have many friends with whom I coincided in the School of Art to whom I dedicate this exhibition especially: Mendez (Jose Antonio), Roque (Sergio).

«I am also interested in this proposal reaching the youngest, those who study at art schools and the entire population.»

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Idania Alvarez Ortega, president of the Visual Arts section of the UNEAC in Matanzas and curator of Mi amiga Alicia, said that the artist recreates movement through the use of lines and chiaroscuro, giving each work his personal stamp in which the cubist spirit that has accompanied him for decades is evident.

The works toured several provinces of the country before arriving in Matanzas and will continue their journey through Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth, after concluding their stay in the Athens of Cuba.

The show began at the Alicia Alonso Theater, the great National Theater and then went to Baracoa, Guantanamo.

It was pending to be brought to Matanzas due to different circumstances.

«I like to make traveling exhibitions because the Cuban people are eager to see things. Sometimes we lack material things, but we have plenty of others; what we should not lack is culture, which is a spiritual food for the people. It is the artists’ responsibility to produce more works for the Cuban public».

The interpretations of Cuban songs by the Chamber Choir of Matanzas, under the direction of Maestro José Antonio Méndez Valencia, crowned such a special moment at the UNEAC headquarters in Matanzas as the inauguration of the exhibition My Friend Alicia, by Nelson Domínguez, winner of the National Plastic Arts Award.


Written by Jessica Mesa Duarte.




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