Lázaro Saavedra: wins 2014 National Visual Arts Award

With these words Lázaro Saavedra started its speech in a ceremony that took place at the Fine Arts National Museum and which also celebrated the 20th anniversary of granting this award, established in 1994 to recognize the work of an artist whose contributions help the development of Cuban visual arts.

Cuba's main newspaper, Granma, announced that the National Council on the Arts awarded its 2014 National Award to artist Lázaro Saavedra (Havana, 1964) "in recognition of his creative career and values of a work characterized by conceptualism and his adept handling of humor and irony."

Saavedra, a member of PURE, one of the leading groups that represent the artistic movement of the eighties in Cuba, Saavedra has developed a versatile body of work with reference to his use of modes of expression.

His creations have been recognized both in Cuba and abroad and he has developed a "persevering educational work" in the training of several generations of Cuban artists, the newspaper said.

Saavedra has been a critical artist. During the "little war of emails," he published a gallery of cartoons that lampooned [hegemonic] power. The incident occurred after a national TV program invited Luis Pavón Tamayo, one of the executors of censorship in the seventies.

The jury, presided over by Eduardo Ponjuan, 2013 National Visual Arts Award, and made up of other artists previously awarded, artists, art critics and curators, agreed to grant the award to Saavedra "for a work that has been kept alive and in constant renovation for decades" after evaluating the fifteen proposals presented by almost thirty institutions.

The artist´s versatility, apparent in how he handles and works with different media and characterized by his ethical commitment, critical perspective and wide thematic repertoire dealing with the problems in contemporary society in Cuba and abroad, were some of the elements taken into account by the jury to grant the award, as well as Saavedra´s work as a teacher "of great impact in the promotion of artists for the past 25 years".

The artist thanked the support of his family, friends, and above all, the teachers that contributed to his education as a visual artist. He also said he is satisfied with the modest contribution he has made with his life and work, to those that shall come after him.

The jury was chaired by Eduardo Ponjuán, 2013 National Arts Award, and made up of previous holders of the National Visual Arts Award: Osneldo García, Pedro Pablo Oliva, René de la Nuez, Jose Villa, Nelson Domínguez, Ernesto Fernández Nogueras and Ever Fonseca plus artists Iván Capote, Abel Barreto and Abel Barroso; Manuel López Oliva (Critics Award for Life's Work), and the art critics María de los Ángeles Pereira, David Mateo and Axel Li.

Other nominees for this prize in 2014 were José Antonio Choy, Lesbia Vent Dumois, Salvador Corratgé, Zaida del Rio, Roberto Salas, Juan Moreira, Pedro de Oráa, José Manuel Fors, Alberto Lescay , Alexis Leyva Machado ( Kcho), Eduardo Roca (Choco), Manuel Hernández Valdés, Rafael Zarza and Rocío García.

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