(…) Ana Albertina is one of those indispensable artists of the second half of the 1980s who has also maintained a constant creative process since she left Cuba in the early 1990s. Together with her husband Adriano Buergo and other important artists of the period as Ermy Taño, Ciro Quintana and Lázaro Saavedra, they led the genesis and history of one of the fundamental groups of that generation: Grupo Puré. (…)
I wanted to ask you that: as a woman, how did you see yourself in your generation? When that period is reviewed, there were not many women artists. How did your work dialogue with that context?
My work has always focused what is feminine. I think that, in part, because a woman artist was not common at the time, and less so if she approached the social problematic of women in Cuba. I knew my legacy was very important for the new generations of women artists, whether in the level of the work as for my artistic activism. Always fearless within exhibitions where all artists were men, and where I think there was always respect and admiration for what I did. I was very aware of being the only woman into everything that culturally took place in the 1980s and that my work was the feminine voice that was needed.
Some art critics have said that your work is marked by a feminine point of view in which daily nature and subjectivity are keys. Did you always assume that path?
Both elements are together in my creations. It is the dichotomy between my perception of what is daily or real and what is subjective and fantastic, put into function of “stories”, generally feminine portraits, creating images where we do not very well know what the limit is between biographical and fictitious. My work has that point of contact with many other human activities where imagining completes things.
And, from that awareness, did you felt that you connected with some referents of women artists who preceded you?
They were not many, but Antonia Eiriz was an artist that, as a referent, could not be obviated and, for me, she was always the teacher. I remember I saw her in the National Museum of Fine Arts teaching in a workshop about masks. I remember I surrounded her and felt an enormous sadness at the same time when I told myself: how much waste, since she was a woman with an impressive work who could not have been able to continue, because of diverse reasons, which at this point I do not know which would be true. For me, she was the most important referent because of her topics, her technique and her presence as a woman on the scene of Cuban art. I think that, together with Chago, they were the most direct referents for the entire generation of the 1980s, especially for Grupo Puré.
According to your viewpoint, why was there such an important exodus of artists in the early 1990s?
I think that precisely because the possible spaces were very controlled, projects were eroded and checked up and it really became very difficult in Cuba to have options to create and exhibit, so in the departure of artists to Mexico—among other countries—the Ministry of Culture saw a solution for that moment.
How can you then achieve to insert your work in Miami?
The truth is that I have constantly worked and opened several solo and group shows in galleries as those of Genaro Ambrosino, Bernice Steinbaum and Carol Jazzar. My works are now part of collections in art museums in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Another important aspect has been art criticism that has always covered my solo exhibitions, as well as the company of a select group of private collectors and admirers who have followed my path for years.
However, I think it is a work that precisely makes the deceitful trap of being visually attractive and, at the same time, conceptually complex.
Yes, perhaps you notice the trap, but others do not fall in it. I have always had an audience following, admiring my work, but I know it is a valuable minority. In the game of languages and images my work is, one has to be ready to lose control by moments, and I know it is not easy. Behind its attraction, doubts, fantasy and the especially feminine borders of my characters are lying in wait.