The recent art exchange program in Key West between the United States and Cuba is underscoring the important role that art plays in the human experience.
In January, the first exhibition in 50 years of an American artist opened at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana. The exhibit, entitled “Una Raza La Raza Humana” or “One Race The Human Race,” showcases work by the Cuban-American artist and Key West native Mario Sanchez (1908-2005). The exhibit – open through April 17, 2014 – forms part of the museum’s Cuban Art collection and is considered a monumental step in improving artistic relations between Cuba and the United States.
Born October 7th 1908 in the Key West neighborhood of Gato’s Village, Mario Sanchez is known for his colorful bas-reliefs depicting life in early 20th century Key West. Self-taught, his work captures the verve of everyday men and women by drawing on personal experience, Key West culture and the artist’s Cuban-American heritage. Today, Sanchez’s reliefs are valued at upwards of $50,000, however the social and cultural history chronicled therein is invaluable.