Aisar Jalil in the Midst of the Storm

/ 1 March, 2016

(…) Distant from the family and cultural Arab legacy accompanying him in his childhood—whose aesthetic coordinates, as many of us know, cross the non-figuration, a forceful calligraphy and dissimilar viewpoints of abstraction in the countries of that geographical and cultural region—, Aisar Jalil’s work is framed in close contexts as Cuba and Latin America, since when appreciating his canvases of small, middle and large format, we observe numerous critical and parodic components fitting with that zone of the world. Of his fixation with history, with the city, with the difficult circumstances of our distressed republics, his painting, and a large part of his graphic work, settles its kingdom in our daily reality. His speech starts from contextual references, from his observations and day to day analysis whether social or political.

He is fascinated by everything surprising him in his daily life to translate it and represent it in no end of zoomorphic, humanoid figures. Aisar Jalil calls us to poke in the present even when his figures and characters are in agreement with a fantastic world—dear to masters Francisco Toledo, Xul Solar, Roberto Matta—where winged men with bodies like goats, pigs, birds, horses and, on the other hand, human bodies with animal heads in an exchange which numerous artists and writers since the Middle Ages to our days have given an account. But, attention: in that hallucinating space of the canvas or the paper, palms, native vegetation, also stick out, as if warning us of an unquestionable geographic location, from which we assume that many supernatural beings have been transformed in this island, have “mutated” as a result of the innumerable vicissitudes they suffer.

(…) Later, of this ideo-aesthetic proposal, the works that made up the exhibitions La tempestad y la calma (The Storm and the Calm, Havana/Montreal, 2009), Antes que anochezca (Before Night Falls, New York, 2011), Eros (Havana, 2014) and its closest one Estado del tiempo (State of the Weather, Havana, 2015, as part of a group of collateral exhibitions in the Twelfth Havana Biennial), which, as he himself declares, “…is a continuation of the line of thought I am developing in my more recent works (…) on Charles Darwin’s theory on natural selection (…). In my work, the old dialectics between the individual and his circumstances is essential; his relationship with the adversities and fortunes surrounding him…” (…) Aisar Jalil lives in the midst of an individual and collective storm which he translates with strength on images full of fables, metaphors and uncontrollable imagery.

Nelson Herrera Ysla

Nelson Herrera Ysla

Crítico de arte, curador, poeta. Co-fundador del Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam y de la Bienal de La Habana, donde se desempeña actualmente como curador. Ha ofrecido conferencias en numerosos países y publicado numerosos textos críticos en publicaciones especializadas de Cuba y el extranjero. Autor de varios libros de poesía y ensayos. Curador General de la XVI Bienal Paiz de Guatemala, 2008. Jurado de Ensayo del Premio Casa de las Américas, 2005, y de eventos internacionales de arte en América Latina. Premio Nacional de Crítica de Artes Guy Pérez Cisneros, 2007, y del Premio Nacional de Curaduría 2013, ambos en Cuba.

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