Oswaldo Castillo Vázquez(Contramaestre, Santiago de Cuba, 1967)

Of rural origin, Oswaldo Castillo migrated in the early 1990s from the eastern area of Cuba to the capital looking for better living conditions. During those years, those of us who lived in Havana thought that our situation was bad (blackouts, shortage of supplies, transport problems, dilapidated streets), but in the cities and towns of the interior and in the rural areas, things were much worse. The situation of those who lived in the rural areas in the eastern provinces, like the Castillo family, seems to have been untenable.

La Monta (Mounted)

Inter-racial relationships or mixed marriages are presented again by Oswaldo Castillo, this time in a more emphatic and humorous way, in his work La Monta, where a dark-coated bull is covering a white cow. Although the story is similar to the one introduced in Boda Campesina (since the substitution of two representatives of the bovine livestock for the human couple doesn't alter the essence of the matter), the fact that the male is the one with the dark coat presents us with a somewhat different connotation. Since this is a much less frequent combination, its acceptance by the racist ideology that still underlies the mentality of some Cubans is questionable. It would be different if Castillo had presented a couple in which the male is white and the female is black. As we know, the relationship white-man and black-woman was, since colonial times, the established and more tolerated norm, since it was always the white man (the master, the slave-owner, or ultimately a member of the ruling sector) who exercised control and this included the control, abuse and rape of the black woman. In reversing the polarity of this relationship through the use of a dark bull covering a white cow, Oswaldo Castillo’s apparently naive painting presents us with a relatively concealed angle of his concerns. Perhaps it is only the corroboration of a fact and not a reflexive comment, but either way the situation is outlined frankly in the painting. One discovers in many of his works, especially in some of his beautiful wood carvings (where a black mother carries in her arms a white girl and a white mother carries a black girl), the same interest in making the racial question visible, not just the result of our own readings.

Year: 2008
Technique: Oil on canvas
Size: 79.5 x 99 cm

Theme: tradition