Antonia Eiriz


Born Juanelo, Havana, Cuba.
Died Miami, Florida

Antonia Eiriz’s work emerges in the pre-revolution Cuba of the Fifties. She immediately found affinity with the important group “LOS ONCE” (The Eleven), active in 1953-55, composed of 11 Cuban artists who worked in an abstract expressionist style; major exponents were Raul Martinez, Agustin Cardenas, and Guido LLinas. The group dissolved right after 1959, as the revolution did not approve of abstract art, which led to most members leaving the country. Being consistent with her fierce sense of independence, Antonia never became an active member of the group, although itsinfluence eventually resultedinto her characteristically grotesque figures (her “monsters”).
Her creative integrity produced works of tremendous impact in Cuban art, like, among others, “Christ entering Juanelo” (her hometown), “The Annunciation”, and “Stage for Democratic Peace”. During the inauguration of an exhibit at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana in 1967, a high-ranking member of the Culture Ministry (Jose Portuondo) commented that Eiriz’s works were not consistent with the principles of the revolution. As a result, she was no longer allowed to exhibit her work in Cuba. Except for two minor exhibits of ink drawings and prints in the mid-80’s, it was not until 1991 that her work was shown in an important exhibition, organized by some friends in a secondary local gallery, as they had learned of her impending emigration. She moved to Miami in 1993, where she had an exhibit before her death in 1995. In 2013 a second retrospective exhibit was held in Miami, in acknowledgement of her importance in the context of Cuban art.

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