Antonio Guerrero is a contemporary Cuban American Artist. He was born in 1968 in Matanzas Cuba, under the Castro regime. Guerrero grew up in a household where artistic expression was appreciated and encouraged; although materials were not always available, his dreams and ideas were always abundant. In 1986 Antonio was drafted into the army and was immediately transported to Africa to fight in the Ethiopian War. He was inspired by the people and scenes of Africa and he developed an interest in modern expressionism and began to experiment with modern forms of visual art. The popularity of his work led to exhibits of his paintings at the military base. Antonio returned to Cuba in 1988 where he resumed his job as an artisan specializing in painting, engraving wood carving, sculpting and metal work. Feeling increasingly oppressed by Cuba’s government, and unhappy with the worsening living conditions, Antonio, along with two other men, climbed into a raft they had secretly designed and built. Floating off from the coast of Matanzas, they were at sea for five days before being rescued and brought to the U.S.
In January of 1995 Guerrero’s “Balseros del 92”, (“The Rafters of 92”) was exhibited at Vanidades Gallery in Miami, FL. This painting was part of a collection donated to the Jose Marti Foundation in order to raise money for the Florida International University student scholarships. This portrait of himself along with his cousin and friend fleeing Cuba was said to best commemorate the occasion. On May 17, 1996 Guerrero’s work was exhibited by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Washington D.C. as a part of the “Cubans in exile”
exhibit. In 2012 Guerrero was one of four Cuban artists in the world chosen by Bacardi to express the feeling of liberation and the openness of the Cuban spirit during the time of Bacardi’s legendary parties to celebrate its 150th anniversary. Guerrero sees the world as a cosmic stage for human activity. “I’m in the system like a computer programmer writing codes with my sketchbook and brushes, playing the critic, here to create and program the unconscious. Apart from all the trouble we cause ourselves, I believe we are immersed in a powerful and beautiful mystery. The fact of our existence is a great riddle to me.
In his imaginary world everything is possible, shadows fall according to nature’s intent, trees grow from earth, and triangles refract light in a realistic manner. But all of that realism is just Antonio’s way of holding the scene together so that he could go on to upset our normal expectations of reality.