Rolando Lopez Dirube

Los Combatientes - The Combatants

Rolando Lopez Dirube. La Habana, 1920.

Now that I am older I realize that childhood memories are important, although an artist should work from his knowledge, not from inspiration. I lost my hearing as a child; it happened quite suddenly. Painting became a process of verificat ion: if I couldn't draw an object or person, I couldn't trust its existence. I am still a compulsive pointer. I have sought to accentuate the physical beauty of things; that was the motivation behind the Swords' Series, and the Mirrors Series. By using wo od and stone, I have negated the functionality of the object and emphasized its beauty. Stone swords cannot kill; wooden mirrors cannot reflect images. I denied them their vital characteristic. I don't believe an artist should work in only one medium, alt hough many do just that. Artists are rich in ideas, and should channel them through every possible medium; the more, the better. That is how I have worked all my life. After traveling throughout the United States, Europe and parts of Latin America, I deci ded to settle in Puerto Rico; of all my options, it seemed to be the place closest to the Cauto River, in Oriente. Since leaving Cuba in 1960, I have done nothing but my art work. I don't think we can speak of a ''Cuban'' art; it takes centuries to define a national identity, and we are still growing and experimenting with our aesthetics I am certain that exile has influenced my work, but, in what way? That remains a mystery.