Robaina's plantation

Thursday 28 December 2017

Alexis Leiva Machado (Kcho) Cuban Artist in Havana

                       Alexis Leiva Machado was born February 12th, 1970, on the Isla de la Juventud.  He has shown his art around the world and first attracted international attention by winning the grand prize at South Korea's Kwangju Biennial in 1995. He had enrolled in the National School of Plastic Arts (ENA) in Havana in 1986 and graduated by 1990, specializing in painting and sculpture. At the age of sixteen he started his career with the personal exhibition in 1986. From 1990 on, already a professional, he begins to display his works in personal and collective exhibitions both nationally and internationally. The following year, 1991, the young artist makes his first personal exhibition at the MNBA (museo nacional de bellas artes) for the “Artist of the Month” space. He accomplished all this during only the first half of his life.
                      The painter and sculptor opened his studio in Havana recently. Evidently he didn't have in mind the oasis of solitude that many people envision for executing their creative ideas. His Kcho Estudio Romerillo Laboratorio para el Arte is a collective space where children, young people, and adults wander in and out. The space officially opened on January 8, 2014, 55 years after Fidel´s entry into Havana, and the opening was attended by the Cuban Revolution leader himself....that certainly drew a lot of attention.
                      Not only was the area (Romerillo, Playa), where he opened the studio, known to be a more impoverished part of the city, the space itself had been abandoned 20 years earlier and was in ruins. And yet, he has created a nonprofit cultural space that is not only his work space but also has a library, theater, two galleries, and a experimental graphic workshop, as well as open-access spaces for the community. There's also a room with several computers being used for recreation and teaching. Of course the thing he's best known for besides the fact that he's an artist is that he had brought free wifi to his gallery and let anyone use it for free. Whenever I've visited the sidewalks and streets around the compound are full of people on their cellphones and laptops trying to connect....and within the studio it's jammed with people, mostly young, doing the same thing.
                      During my current (not so current) visit to the studio I found many photographs that were taken on a trip he took to China. Before posting I had found articles making reference to the studio being shut down for unknown reasons, like a "too good to be true" scenario. So I had a friend of mine who lives in the area go by and he has assured me that all is well, it's filled with people and activity. However, when I had someone else call them, nobody picks-up. If you're in the area, pop in, admission is free. Buy something, the money goes to a good cause.       

Kcho Estudio Romerillo
Av 7ma corner of Calle 120, Playa.
+53 7 208 0966.

Computer Room


Free WiFi

Trip to China

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