As every other country, Cuba has its share of artists who create their works out of the mainstream, far from the academy, unaware of or oblivious to the “art world”, and without the need of an audience or a marketplace. Often mentally disabled or homeless, they tend to work with humble materials including found objects or discarded packaging. Notable among these Havana based creators is Miguel Ramon Morales Diaz (“Ramon”).
Ramon Morales grew up in Havana in humble circumstances. (His birth date is unknown although he is believed to be in his eighties.) His hopes to become a doctor came to an end in 6th grade when the death of his mother, a housekeeper, forced him to start working to support his family. He eventually became a carpenter and ended up working on construction sites. In his spare time he started drawing on the streets, on any materials available, and on abandoned building walls. These days, no longer of working age, he draws and paints full time, creating wall paintings and murals in his neighborhood and works on discarded materials such as cardboard, paper, plywood or textile fragments. Many of his murals were destroyed or deteriorated over time. One of his most significant outside works is a group of drawings on the facade and surrounding walls of a pharmacy near his home in Havana’s Nuevo Vedado neighborhood. Many neighborhood residents and worker appreciate and protect these murals.
In recent years, Morales has started to live on the streets during the day, outside the constraints of domestic routines, drawing and talking with friends and neighbors. He only returns home to sleep at night when a relative with whom he lives lets him enter. On the streets he works mostly with colored pencils and pieces of found materials. His motifs are everyday scenes, peopled with humans and animals, that are humorous at times and threatening at others, sometimes incorporating text and local slang words. A recurring figure seems to be a mysterious woman, usually nude or scantily dressed, standing stiffly with arms crossed or interacting with a man in an unresolved situation.
Morales is a included in Art Brut Project Cuba’s Collection, Riera Studio, Havana
Please view our works by this artist in the Outsider Art from Cuba/Cuban Art Brut portfolio on our website.