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

Art critic, curator, poet. He is co-founder of the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center and of the Havana Biennial, an event he led from 1999 to 2001, and where he is currently curator. He has lectured in numerous countries and published numerous critical texts in specialized publications of Cuba and abroad. General Curator of the XVI Paiz Biennial of Guatemala, 2008. Essay Jury of the Casa de las Américas Prize, 2005, and international art events in Latin America. National Award for Arts Criticism Guy Pérez Cisneros, 2007, and National Prize for Curators 2013, both in Cuba.

Related Post



  • Editor in Chief / Publisher

  • Executive Director

  • Executive Managing Editor

  • Art Director

  • Editorial Director / Editor

  • Design & Layout

  • Translation and English copyediting

  • Spanish copyediting

  • Commercial director & Public Relations / Cuba

  • Web Editor


Art OnCuba Newsletter

* This field is required