Ernesto Guevara de la Serna’s image has been, and is, source of inspiration for many Cuban and foreign artists. These sorts of things happen to people who become legends, symbols, and universal reference. The particular vision of each artist has resulted in a different Che, sometimes ideal, sometimes addressed from a firmed realism, and philosophical and political approach. We should not mix up the man, the character, but the artist does not stop there. That Che enlightened by the arts is the result of impulses and commitments; as art, as we know, is niche of subjective opportunities.
Why has Che been the center of so many art works? First of all, his special romantic stature. To many of us, Che is the ideal hero…His personal history is colored by countless feats. He was not a simple man: his sense of ethic and duty did not allow him to walk away from the world problems. The truth is that he faced challenges that none else would dare to face. And everything started from the principle that human dignity is more than a dream; it is a real possibility. Some artists label him as the twenty-century Quixote.
Another reason: his beauty. And this is not a minor reason as we are talking about arts. Che’s image was (is) powerful, empathic. Suffice to see the most celebrated of his pictures, that of Korda. That stare attracts, seduces, and worries. His harmonious features round out such crushing personality. That is why the concept, the ideology, the historical dimension are strongly linked to an overwhelming visuality.
Painting, photography, design, music, dance, theater, literature, film production, television…Ernesto Che Guevara is a constant presence. His large roadmap and his deep thinking give artists and intellectuals several points of views. Ultimately, we are also talking about someone who is also a cultural icon. That is why he keeps on generating so many debates and homage.
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff