Nelson Dominguez born in Baire, Santiago de Cuba on the 23rd of September 1947, is one of the great masters of Cuban art, both from the golden age of the Revolution and a contemporary period. The artist is considered to be on the greatest painters and engravers in Cuba, he has two studios, one used for etching in Cojímar and a studio in Central Havana where one would go to see his painterly genius. Nelson Dominguez lives and works in Havana, Cuba but is often found travelling, displaying his work across the world from Japan, Russia, Britain and Switzerland to Mexico, Brazil, Chile and, of course, Cuba.
Born in Santiago, Nelson Dominguez has always held the South Eastern Cuban landscapes central to his work. The Afro-Cuban tradition of Santeria is widely practiced across Cuba though is most concentrated in Santiago de Cuba, it being home to many important sites of the Virgin del Cobre. As a result Afro- Cuban symbolism emerges frequently in the artists discourse, both in his paintings and etchings. The artists works from the late 90s deal predominantly with Afro-Cuban themes, intertwined sensually with everyday life seen in the countryside, its epic visions and fantastical prints based on rural animals.
Dominguez began his artistic career studying in Havana under Chilean artist Hugo Jaramillo and then was enrolled into the only the higher education art school that existed on the island until the 1980s, la Escuela Nacional de Arte (la ENA) where Dominguez studied with other greats of his generation such as Pablo Pedro Oliva and Flora Fong. Once completing his studies at la ENA, Dominguez went on to teach engraving at the official university of the arts established in 1976 the Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA). The artist has won a number of both national and international prizes throughout his career and is heralded one of the all time greats.
Dominguez’s work deals with the rural world with a delicacy, poetry and humour that is conducive to the tradition of Cuban art. His work has been likened to that of other Cuban masters such as Victor Manuel, Amelia Pelaez and Carlos Enríquez Gómez, hanging alongside such maestros in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana.
Dominguez explains “My memories of the Sierra Maestra live in me because for someone who has titled the soil since childhood, the countryside is like the past/present constantly within oneself: the land, nature, are always with me wherever I go”.