From Mierda to Metal

The Story of a Painting by Roberto Diago

/ 24 October, 2019

In the second half of the ’90s, I visited Roberto Diago and purchased from him a large painting titled Mierda which he was supposed to deliver to me soon after. I found out later, several months later, that the piece had been shown in the occasion of an opening of a school, in a small town in eastern Cuba, close to Santiago. The opening was attended also by the artist Kcho and by Fidel Castro. Kcho made a famous speech, which was heard on the radio, in which he complained that the government of Cuba had never before cared about the needs of the people of this small town which he called “El culo del perro” (The anus of the dog).

When it was time to visit with Fidel Castro, who was presiding over the opening of the school, he turned to Diago and said: “¿Pero tú le pones Mierda a un cuadro?” (But you write  Shit  on a painting?), at which Diago’s response was “Comandante, esto no es fácil” (Commander, This is not easy). And that is the story about the painting which I never received. But in a subsequent visit to the artist, he said to me: “Look, I’m sorry about that piece. Why don’t you take two of the large works on metal in exchange?” One of those pieces on metal which we still have is illustrated here, together with another painting with the word Mierda.

I never knew what happened to “my” painting.

Robert Borlenghi

Robert Borlenghi

Robert Borlenghi. President of Pan American Art Group, Inc. (Pan American Art Projects, Pan American Art Tours, Pan American Art Design) of Miami, Fl.

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