“... my paintings are an extension of my beliefs. The gods feed my creativity.”

Manuel Mendive, 1989


Manuel Mendive Hoyo (Havana, 1944) from the time he was a child wanted to represent the world around him. He discovered the family circle with his mother’s encouragement and saw images from popular religions and Afro-Cuban religious syncretism. He graduated from the San Alejandro School of Fine Arts in 1963, and a year later had his first one-person exhibition. The analysis of his work leads us to study an iconography in which the symbols arising from the artistic representation of the orichas come forth. In the 1960s he began to reproduce the stories of Yoruba religion, through which he conveyed an original sense of revelation. Through his paintings on wood he created his own symbols, evoking the archaic representations of the orichas and their main idea together with the original sense of each figure.

Mendive has produced his art in several media, including painting on canvas and on royal palm trunks, sculpture in wood, textiles into which he has integrated fiber, cowrie shells, wood fragments, and cloth, which were then cast in bronze, projecting a richness of texture on the final material.

As an artist he has explained the meaning of his work: “The elements of Afro-Cuban culture are a stimulus and sustenance for my larger discourse on death, life, and all there is in them: good, evil, and the most beautiful moments, to know everything that is inside us. I live with my ancestors and my gods. Long live the world, Ashé.”

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"