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The towering Che sculpture at Havanas Revolution Square
It was precisely on October 8th, but of 1993, that the sculpture was inaugurated. Made of metal and reinforced concrete, the Che consists of a single line that reproduces the most well known photo of Che Guevara taken by Cuban photographer Alberto Korda. Since that day the image became a perennial feature of Revolution Square.

Who is its author? What is the history of this sculpture? What is the author doing these days?

Enrique Avila was born in Holguin in 1952. He graduated as a painter at the National Arts School, class of 1972. The painter, art designer, sculptor and engraver tells Granma that when he conceived his idea for the sculpture, he started from the concept that Che Guevara was an extraordinarily modest, simple and austere person. "From the point of view of the visual arts, a three dimensional line was apt. The use of steel as the material for that line is a reference to the character of the guerrilla leader."

The most complex element of the project consisted on how to sustain 16 tons of weight on the Jaimanitas stone with two-pillars that makes the facade of the building. "But I associated those beams with something important: Che is a builder of new ideas, and I symbolized that with the construction and the way it integrates with the lines of the building. The Hasta la Victoria Siempre (Onward forever to victory) sign is also made with the original handwriting of the hero. That was suggested by a friend."

The way the sunlight hits the sculpture is also very special. Because it is spaced from the walls of the building Ches lit up figure duplicates itself with its shadow when the Sun's rays reflect during certain moments of the day.

He wanted his Che to be seen not only during the daylight hours, so he made the designs of the lighting system nighttime, something he learned when he worked for several years working as a television set designer.

With the steel combined with reinforced concrete, Avila also has made monuments in tribute to the Hermanos Saiz (Pinar del Rio), the Hermanos Martinez Tamayo, who died together with Che in Bolivia (Siboney, Havana) and he has also other artworks in the eastern provinces and the capital.

As a painter the artist continues to work with the image of Che, but he also works in other themes, like ocean bottoms. Little by little, real images have given way to abstract ones, as his latest personal exposition showed: The silence of the stones, displayed at the La Acacia art gallery this year.

Source: By Toni Piñeira, Granma

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