"El Loquito" in his 50th anniversary
"Â¿Â¡Loco yo?!" (Crazy?! Me?!), with all those punctuation marks, is the title of the retrospective exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of "El Loquito" (Crazy Little Man), one of the now legendary characters of Cuban cartoons created by artist René de la Nuez that can be enjoyed at the Union of Cuban Artists and Writers (UNEAC) Villa Manuela Gallery.
A simultaneous question and exclamation that leads spectators directly to incredulity in the face of the dozens of sketches on display, in which we can appreciate the perfect subterfuge utilized by the famous cartoonist. El Loquito was not that insane as can be seen in what he expressed, opinions and news of the time: the bloody dictatorship of Batista; he just appeared to be so.
El Loquito spoke in code - he had to pass over censorship and break the silence - and with Nuez skill as an artist and humorist, he achieved it in a few strokes and brief words.
El Loquito was born on the pages of Zig Zag weekly; he was René de la Nuez first character and with him the artist established himself as a cartoonist.
How El Loquito came about has been explained by Nuez himself: "The first political drawings I did for a national newspaper were for Zig Zag...In time, I realized that with the Liborio cartoons that were being printed at that time, I was not going to be able to show a revolutionary opinion of the situation that the country was experiencing...so I tried to invent a new character...so as to be able to manipulate him in my own way...thats how the first ideas arose that would later become El Loquito."
With respect to the technical aspects of the cartoon, the artist has explained: "I did it based on triangles, searching for a style that would work from a graphic point of view, and getting away from the other characters. I placed a "collage" (frequently used by the surrealists at that time) of newspaper inside his hat. El Loquito stuck straight away."
Following the triumph of the Revolution, El Loquito ceased to exist. It was a different reality and Nuez created new characters (Mogollón, Don Cizaño), who are also included in this exhibition. Besides them, another section of the gallery also includes more recent artistic stages such as his work on subjects such as Habanos, Don Quijote and the city of Havana, and it could not have been done in any other way knowing that the curator of the exhibition is artist Lesbia Vent Dumois, director of the Villa Manuela Gallery.
But El Loquito will always hold a special place in Cuban cartoons and for his creator: "El Loquito was really important for me...I would situate him in the origins of my development as a cartoonist. The others would not have existed if El Loquito had not existed first. My cartoons came out of him...he filled me with a spirit of enthusiasm for my work that I still have not lost."
A well-deserved tribute to René de la Nuez on the 50th anniversary of his Loquito, such a sensible and sane character.
Source: By Mireya Castañeda, Granma Internacional