Abel Barroso


Collage, wood, color pencils, washi paper, 115 x 114 cm
Untitled, collage, wood, color pencils, washi paper, 115 x 114 cm

Abel Barroso, born in 1971 in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, is a very interesting young artist who has been rapidly gaining international renown for his art which combines printmaking and sculpture in biting and humorous commentary on contemporary Cuban LIFE. Using met iculous craftsmanship, he creates playful works that often invite the viewer to interact. The Third World INTERNET Cafe, Barroso’s memorable INSTALLATION at the 7th Havana Biennial last November, featured computers fashioned out of wood and paper and hand-cranked by the viewer. Residents of Tampa Bay had an opportunity to see Barroso’s work in the exhibition Contemporary Art in Cuba: SURVIVAL and Irony on the Utopian Island, at the USF Contemporary Art Museum in 2001. Tabaco con ideologia (Cigars with Ideology) is an authentic cedar cigar box carved by the artist and containing a woodblock print (taken from the carving on the boxtop) and a lithographic scroll inside, hand-cranked by the viewer to reveal a story of Cuba, the United States and cigars. It is "hecho a mano" (handmade) by a Cuban in Tampa – a whimsical and beautifully crafted reminder of the deep historical ties between Tampa and Cuba. The once-thriving cigar industry in Ybor CITY owed its success to the importation of Cuban cigar workers and Cuban tobacco.