Hopes / Esperanzas by Mercy Rivadulla (2016)
We begin the new year with Hopes/Esperanzas. Mercy Rivadulla (born 1960), daughter of the late master graphic designer Eladio Rivadulla, is a painter who has always focused on Cuba–it’s architecture, history, saints and heroes–in endearingly fanciful and hopeful representations. These works are particularly appropriate, says Mercy, “for this moment and the feeling of the Cuban people” as the island enjoys improved relations with the United States and an upturn in economic growth.
Mercy’s works are peopled with many recognizable figures who have “left footprints all over the planet. Though they are from different eras, I place them in the same space and time,” she explains. Hemingway is a favorite since he lived in Cuba. Jose Marti (1853-1895), the country’s revered poet-revolutionary, and the Virgin of Charity, patron saint in yellow gown, are constants, along with Havana’s grand structures, all depicted with admiration by the artist, a graduate in architectural studies.