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Cuban painter Zaida del Río presents a new sample of its work
El gran hipnotizador (The Great Hypnotizer), an exhibition of 25 pieces on canvas and paper received by the City Museum, displays that feverish mannerism in which land, sea, nature and people merge into an infinite and at the same time infinitesimal cosmos.

There’s almost no empty space in each composition, almost no divisions between real and dream matter, and you can barely breath faced with the whole set of details crowding and interweaving into our heads with devastating density.
But, at the same time, the look of observers receives the sensation of something you can cope with when you run your eyes over the vastness of surfaces filled with that creature that since bygone times is an icon of multiple meanings: the peacock. If in the Byzantine period it was a symbol of resurrection and incorruptibility, and in medieval astrology it was the key to fulfilment and totality, it arrived to Cuba associated with Ochún (a goddess of African religion), who is grateful for its plumage.

Zaida del Río, we know, has managed to carve out an iconography of her own, taking, as a starting point, not only her academic studies (National School of Art, Higher Institute of Arts, the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Paris, France), but also her country experiences, because for someone who was born in a rural area in the center of the country, it’s impossible not to be aware of the semantics of the countryside or the codes of birds at woodlands.

With them, she travels through time, wins spaces and learns, as much as she has, from poetic readings and conversations, visits to museums and empirical observations. All this moves, one way or the other, to pictorial texts where imagination shows respect for dreams.

Writer Miguel Barnet once said about her work: "No one can avoid the magic power of her figures; not even those that will never know how to interpret them." The exercise of feeling the imprint of her productions is more useful than to attempt to decipher a narration, or venture to read on hermeneutics.

For Zaida el Mito this is a ludicrous condition. Playing with the ability to tell mythological stories is at the center of her poetic art. Sensorial contemplation becomes established in works like Plenilunio (Full Moon), where the peacock concentrates and expands its exuberant nature from the figurine of a woman in the center of the bird, or Profecía (Prophecy), a revelation where Eros y la vegetación (Eros and the Vegetation), intertwine.

The visual implant of a creator like her can’t be otherwise, a creator that confesses having felt the presence of "hidden angels in all the rooms and paths; each time I want, I create a wood and a river around me, so then my steps will never be empty or lacking in love."

At the end of the visual tour of Zaida’s works at the City Museum, we remember Borges once again. The artist has made it possible for us to discern "that secret and conjectural object, the name of which men misappropriate, but that no man has looked at: the inconceivable universe."


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