Pedro Alvarez(Havana, 1967 - Tempe, Arizona, United States, 2004)

When I look at Pedro Álvarez’s work, I have the uncomfortable feeling that I am losing an important part of the game in which he was involved. My interpretations always leave me dissatisfied. And neither am I entirely content – I apologize for this -- with the readings made by some of my colleagues. I have a feeling that there is much more that we can’t really decipher, although at times it seems that we understand the fundamental mechanisms of his creation.

War Is Over

In War is over, 1999, Pedro Álvarez selected three materials from his plentiful and heterogeneous file archive: a UNICEF logotype from the 1970s taken from a postage stamp, a colour illustration from a Cuban pack of cigars from the 19th century and a photograph of an American-style interior from the Cuban middle class of the 1950s. With these three elements he created a trans-historical scene by means of which he expressed the irony of the illusion of supposed “racial harmony" in Cuba. The figures of different skin colours joining hands seems to represent a childish, naive dream that floats above the black couple lying on the floor intoxicated inside that modern mansion. Has racial conflict really ended for them? Probably, they are not the owners of the mansion but rather servants, like those domestic slaves of colonial times, who have taken advantage of the master's absence to get drunk, as portrayed in Victor Patricio Landaluze's racist paintings (Bilbao, 1930- Havana, 1889) that Pedro so often referred to in his paintings.

Year: 1999
Technique: Oil on canvas
Size: 114 x 146 cm

Theme: colonialism politics