The graphic designer Esteban Guillermo Ayala Ferrer (Havana, 1929-1995), the Master, as we affectionately called him, had solid professional training that gave him profound experience and exquisite sensitivity in the design of posters, books, and catalogues, as well as campaigns to publicize events organized by entities within the Ministry of Culture. His work was closely as- sociated with printing, another

activity as old as it is beautiful. As a designer he shaped the graphic look of the posters for Grupo Antillano’s exhibitions. We should recall, for example, the outstanding poster he did for the April 1979 exhibition in tribute to Don Fernando Ortiz, in the National Library, or the catalogue for the January 1980 exhibition of the Grupo Antillano in the House of Cuban Culture in Prague.

Esteban Ayala brought his experience as artistic director and de- signer to the exhibitions of Grupo Antillano. In enriching discus- sions he used to tell us about some of the European countries he had visited. He talked about literature and art and their cultural contexts, providing a sketch of his meetings with leading cultural figures he had occasion to meet.

When Ayala talked about France he would begin with the phrase: “...I saw the blue air of Paris...” and also mention “élan,” that metaphor about French culture referring to the City of Lights, as the center of the artistic avant-garde of the twentieth century.

In the history of Cuban graphic design Esteban Ayala’s work rep- resents the transition and the fun- damental connection between the approach to graphic design in the United States and the solid training in design that he received in Ger- many. In his own way he linked the classic European tradition to the dy- namic modernism of North Ameri- can graphic design.


Guillermina Ramos Cruz, 2012

web design: Los Fieras

proyecto y curaduría:/project concept and curator: Alejandro de la Fuente

Agradecemos a la Fundación Ford por su apoyo para este proyecto /

/ Thanks to Ford Foundation for their support for this project"