The Allure of Utopia: a Commitment to Life

Pedro de Oraá - Cuban National Visual Arts Award 2015

/ 1 March, 2016

¿Quiénes alcanzarían

en la extensión y persistencia de la oscuridad,

lo cierto entre lo incierto?

Oraá, 1948


In October 2015, Oraá’s long career as painter earned him the annual Cuban National Visual Arts Award. This honor comes after his protracted journeys of utopian creative research, an expansive and fearless parade of reaching out into the uncertainty of existence for the discovery of life. (…) Pedro de Oraá, a modern painter who came of age toward the second half of the 20th century, has been interested, like many of his generation, in abstraction, a passion that he has channeled into the present day. This commitment to abstraction was a reaction against the artwork and aesthetic posture of previous generations of members of the Cuban Vanguardia who sided with figuration and almost permanently stayed within that realm. At the same time, Oraá was pursuing an intimate style of poetry that captured his philosophical views of life, expressed in books of poems such as El Instante Cernido (The Sifting Instant, 1952-1953), Constelaciones (Constellations, 1954-1956) and Estación de la Hierba (Station of Grass, 1956).

(…) As an abstract painter Oraá has developed a unique pictorial language within the Cuban art scene with no direct identifiable influence. He also emerges as a distinctive voice within the dialogue of international abstraction, communicating a visual aesthetic which since the early 1950s has conversed formally with the artworks of Jean Dewasne, Jean Arp, and others. In recent years he has playfully worked with computer programs to nurture his visual world. This development makes him a pioneer in the island nation, one who explores technology as an effective tool to strengthen and complement conventional painting.

Through his career Pedro de Oraá has created a visual language that builds upon the combination of elements of hard-edged and organic abstraction. Over the years he has gone back and forth, mixing these forms within his artworks in a manner that encompasses and enhances his devotion to poetry. Visually, Oraá has devoted his artistic life to fostering an abstract poetic that is funneled and resolved on his canvases and sculptures with a reductive color palette, one in which black, white, red and purple have an indisputably dominant presence. (…)

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