Born, Havana, Cuba 1971
A natural collector and archivist, Roberto Diago’s interest lies in slavery both ancient and modern day. Born from this commitment to remember and accuse, he deftly assembles a cumulative portrait of the world he sees filtered through the familiar. Diago works with found objects seeking to locate sincerity in the banal. He culls from the throw-away to represent those who are thought to be through-aways.
The works on show reflect Roberto Diago’s ongoing exploration with multilayered, stained pieces of textile that bring into focus the violence and human loss of past and present slavery. Through his work, Diago acts as witness in a country enduring a culture of collective fear.
“We didn’t have the materials you need to paint like we were taught in school, so we had to adapt our art to what we could find. Now I can afford to buy good paper and oil paints, but that no longer interests me. The symbolic weight of my materials has become a characteristic of my work.”
Roberto Diago, 2011
Roberto Diago graduated from the Academia de Artes Plásticas San Alejandro, Havana in 1990 and is a member of the Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC). Solo exhibitions include Entre Lineas | Between the Lines, Magnan Metz Gallery, New York, NY (2012), Proyecto “D”.11 Bienal de La Habana, Parque John Lennon, Vedado, La Habana, Cuba (2012), Exposición bi-personal “Los dos juntos”, Centro de Arte, Sala Electa Arenal, Holguín, Cuba (2010), Un lugar en el mundo. Galería Villa Manuela. La Habana, Cuba (2009), Utopia. Santa Fe Art Institute, New Mexico (2009), Galería El Torco. Cantabria, España. (2008), Yo lo que quiero es vivir. Galería (e)spacio. Madrid, España (2006), Galería Sacramento. Aveiro, Portugal (2006), Pan American Art Gallery. Dallas, Texas (2005, Alegría de vivir. Brownstone Foundation. París, France (2005), Mi historia es tu historia. Galería Cernuda Arte, Coral Gables, FL (2001). Selected group exhibitions include Message from La Habana: Seven Contemporary Cuban Artists, Zane Bennett Gallery, Santa Fe, NM (2012), HB2. Muestra de Arte Contemporáneo Cubano 11 Bienal de La Habana (2012, Beyond the Frame. Gallery 27, London (2012), The Lighthouse Gallery, Glasgow.UK (2012), Queloides (Scars). 8th Floor. New York / Living in Havana, Marlborough Chelsea. New York (2011), Global Caribbean , Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico(MAC), Puerto Rico (2011). In 2002 he received the Award for National Culture from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Cuba, in 1999 the Prix Amédée Maratie Remis par la Fondation Kikoine sous l´égide de la Fondation du Judaisme Francais and the Special Prize Raúl Martínez. Asociación Hermanos Saíz (AHS). His work can be found in the following collections: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Galería Guislain Etats D´Art, Paris, Cernuda Arte, Miami, FL, PanAmerican Art Gallery, TX, Fundación Kikoïne, Paris and Fundación Brownstone, Paris.