Socio-Cultural Project Fidias: The Lights of Luaces

Self-taught, Pedro Alberto Luaces Torres is a well known artist from Pinar del Rio whose work as a restorer is felt in every corner of Pinar del Rio city and in other places.

They say everything he touches changes into a wonder. I didn’t believe in those words until I discovered Pedro Alberto Luaces Torres little by little his inborn skills as an artist. Pinar del Rio, his homeland, has in him and in his community project Fidias two inseparable allies, always willing to collaborate to make of the city a prettier and more attractive space.

Young, talented, Cuban through and through, with Pinar del Rio in his heart and feelings, Luaces gives his best when his efforts are needed. Hence he was involved in every last work scheduled to restore for the celebrations of July 26th and the 150th anniversary since Pinar del Rio was proclaimed a city, next September 10th.

Milanes Theater, José Martí Park, the restaurant-cabaret El Criollo, the Museum of Natural Sciences are some of the most recent works where Fidias has left its print for the wellbeing of the community.

- How and why was project Fidias born?

“It was born from the degree of decline of the works of Decorative Arts and the shortage of restorers in the country and, especially, Pinar del Rio.

“Art work collectors came here, I joined them and I saw that many were deteriorated. Then ideas came popping inside my head so I could restore them.

“The first works were handmade at my dining room table back home. Then when collectors came visit me and they saw the final result they were shocked. They were the first ones in encouraging me to keep doing that work and I created a workshop.

“As I don't have an artistic training that made me worry more about the world of restoration. I got involved with boys who were majoring in that line of work and I created a small workshop. Many other youngsters who liked what they did joined; because it was a way of taking to practice the knowledge they have learned at school and, at the same time, they explored a field they didn’t approach much at the academy.

“It was interesting to them because they had to manipulate the works of artists: sculptures made of brass, marble, china pieces. And through the clients who visited us I started to purchase new working tools and look for information in catalogs bought abroad.

“Then the collectors themselves wanted to incorporate what they already had. They had pieces that were beyond salvation then I had the idea of reproducing them. Then, the clients told me that if I was able to do that, with such a level of accuracy, then I could create others. That’s when the idea of exploring new lines of work was born.”

- How many years have you worked as a restorer?

“Around 27, the early years was during the harsh time of the Cuban economic crisis. You have to make your living. I was barely twenty odds years old back then.”

- When is the project born?

“There was this director in the province Culture headquarters who knew about our work. He proposed the idea of creating the project; he said the acquired knowledge could be passed down to the community, to the new generations, to start a sort of school-workshop.

“The idea thrived. First I joined the Cuban Association of Artisans and Artists (best known as ACAA) after that I joined the Cuban Fund of Cultural Assets as a creative group. Then we moved here—where we are today—; we had already increased the production lines and we were looking for space and better conditions that suited what we were doing.”

- Why Fidias?

“We worked with old works; we needed to look for information and going through history we found the work of Fidias—the Greek sculptor—, which was very much what we were doing. Then we named the project after him.”

- Isn’t it awesome what you have accomplished?

“I never really imagined it. I wanted to study marine biology, but those studies were closed and so I studied veterinary. I worked eight years as a vet, kind of trying to find what I wanted.

“Once I entered the world of Decorative Arts, the group is born. Many people gave me advice. We had a solid structure and we came up with the idea of creating carpentry, blacksmith, pottery workshops. That allows to self-finance, to be an institution which is not a burden for the local Government. Of course, without straying from the cultural world, of the community project. It was also a way of employment for the artists and artisans of Pinar del Rio, because the province doesn't have, in this regard, a very strong market.”

- However, leaving for Havana is not part of your dreams. Others have moved to the capital…

“I believe my mission is here. I have created a structure and there is no need. I worked in the capital with Eusebio Leal once, in Quinta de los Molinos, in the Old Square, but you see, I came back. I feel much supported in my province by the Government and the Communist Party, I feel loved. What else can I ask?”

Cuban artists offer hope to victims of Matthew

During Cuban Culture week, art companies and organizations including the experienced and award winning Guantanamo Guiñol and members of the Hermano Saiz Association will take their talents to the areas affected by Hurricane Matthew aimed at offering hope and support to the people.

The Provincial Culture Office promotes this solidarity art brigade called Juan Marinello appreciated by the people of Baracoa, Maisi, San Antonio del Sur and Imias and which will also include the traditional musical groups Celso and its Changui.

Another that will lighten up the lives of the people is the Rios Theater that has a lot of experience of community work and is very much loved in that areas for its work early each year of the Guantanamo-Baracoa Theater Crusade.

They along with writers, trovador artists among others in the province they will share their experiences with those affected by the hurricane and will also join in the recovery efforts in the territories hardest hit by Matthew.

Eldys Baratute, Provincial President of the Hermanos Saiz Association, pointed out that they are proud of participating in the Cuban Culture week.

“We will be happy to take our spirituality to the affected population and support the reconstruction of their communities, he said, with the same solidarity conviction that made Carlos Manuel de Cespedes rang the bell at his Demajagua Farm freeing his slaves and fighting for the independence of Cuba from Spanish colonialism.”

The Martha Machado Art Brigade directed by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva (Kcho) also arrived to Baracoa this past weekend to join the activities while the Montana Artistic Comprehensive Group will soon arrive to the town of Imias and Cajobabo.

Heading the last group is the Work Youth Army headed by Major Ruben Nicolas Macias, assures they will arrive with different manifestations to other affected areas of the municipalities with the main mission of cheering the souls of each one affected by the hurricane and work in collecting rubble and repairing homes.

  • Published in Culture

Cuban Artists Take Their Art to the Communities Affected by Mathew

Despite the recovery stage in which the villagers in the municipalities affected by Hurricane Matthew are, they made a pause today to feed their soul with the art offered by Cuban artists.

When Alexis Leyva Machado, aka Kcho, arrived at this city, the artistic group of the Youth Labor Army (EJT) in Guantanamo joined him along with a contingent of young artists of the territory.

About twenty artists from Guantanamo will work in the city of Baracoa along with the Martha Machado brigade, which is led by Kcho, who set camp in the space where, before Matthew, was occupied by a playground. Amid their tents and surrounded by flags they enliven the evenings and nights of this city.

Meanwhile, the artistic group the EJT visits the communities of Imias and Maisí to bring art and dreams, explained Major Ruben Nicolas Macias, director of the group belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

'Our main mission is to brighten the soul of each of the victims, with cultural activities; likewise we will help in the debris removal actions and the recovery of affected facilities', he said.

Another group of young artists and intellectuals headed by writer and President of the Hermanos Saiz association (AHS) in Guantanamo, Eldis Baratutes Benavides, went to the municipality of Maisi, located in the Eastern point of Cuba and one of the most affected areas.
  • Published in Culture

Leo Brouwer to Offer Another Extraordinary Musical Event

Those who were concerned about the end of the five years successful Festival directed by maestro Leo Brouwer, will have now the possibility to enjoy a new musical event the Cuban musician and composer presents: Les Voix Humaines, to be celebrated in different places in Havana from September 25 to October 18 with the participation of more than 350 artists.  

  • Published in Culture
Subscribe to this RSS feed