"The Creation" by Cuban artist Pedro Pablo Oliva

"The Creation" by Pedro Pablo Oliva
Photo ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano
For many years a poetic painting brightened up  the  lunch of  people eating at the cafeteria on the 8th floor at FAO  Headquarters in Rome. The mural is the creation of  the  famous and talented Cuban painter Pedro Pablo Oliva and was donated by the  artist  to FAO, on the occasion of the  Telefood  Concert organized on 26 October 1997  and simultaneously held in Rome and in Havana.

Mr Pedro Pablo Oliva was born in 1949 in Pinar del Río, 160 km from La Habana. He studied art from 1961 to 1964 at the Escuela Provincial de Artes Plásticas in Pinar del Río and specialized in painting at the Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, where he graduated in 1970. To promote the art, the literature and the culture of  Pinar del Río and in general the Cuban and international art, Mr Oliva, since 1998, has founded and financed the Pedro Pablo Oliva Home-Workshop in the province of Pinar del Río for which he has received numerous recognitions from various institutions in Cuba. The artist has also received many other  prizes and awards for his art and held numerous personal and collective exhibitions all over the world.  His works of art can be found in numerous collections in Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Germany as well as in the prestigious auction houses of Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Representative of a neoexpressionist style, his painting often depicts children and animals, fantastic figures and elements and also with his colorful mastery and chromatic diversity Mr  Oliva’s art  has become an obligatory reference point in the development of Cuban fine arts, for all art critics and fine arts historians.

Mr Pedro Pablo Oliva,  recently kindly accepted to explain  the real “ history”  of this mural. In fact in 1997 the artist was invited by FAO Rome to participate in the first Telefood Concert  and  among other appointments he held a workshop, with  Roman art  students. In order to give to the students the opportunity to follow the creation of one of his paintings and to directly interact with him, the artist decided to centre the lessons on the creation of this mural, subsequently donated to FAO, which was painted in just 4 working days at FAO Headquarters and was finished just a few hours before the beginning of the Telefood Concert. A real marathon!

The painting, 2m x 4m, the title of which was indicated by the artist to be “the birth” or (alternatively) “the creation”, represents what the artist calls “the tree of life”.  Importance is given  to the birth of the human being and  love, as they are the bases which give shape and sense to the creation. Two archetypes of love can be found in the mural: on the right a tender couple in love (the seed, the natural primitive cause) and on the left a mother, (waiting for the new life, guardian and nourishment of the creature). At the center, the new human being, sleeping at the base of a womb and waiting for constant emotional and material needs. In this work of art there is a mixture  of various  universal  echoes, constant in the artist’s works of art. As stated in his own words, “I am particularly interested inexploring the human being, especially as an extension of the society in which I live, in all its integrity and plurality, with its complexities and contradictions, its beliefs and uncertainties, its cheerfulness and distress, its goodness and perversities.  When you do that and you want to be totally honest, at least honest with yourself, you could clash with conflicts of any kind, emotional, ethical, political…some are inside yourself, others are imposed, and both could break you. But those are the risks that I am always willing to take, because  I cannot  avoid expressing  what I think and  feel;  also when I desire  to love or when I feel the urgency to think something  over or shout..”.  Furthermore,  “ Painting is not just to  place correctly or incorrectly the color  but it is to go beyond the barrier of immediate,  to feel more than the age we live in,  to go through  everyday life to experiment the universal,  to succeed  in creating a permanent smile,  to succeed in having  tragedy keep us alive well beyond the age in which we live….”

It is easy to be charmed by this painting, which touches the deepest emotional chords of the human being. This painting is a poem. Look at it carefully and allow yourself to be drawn into its fairy-tale world.
Special thanks  to the artist Mr Pedro Pablo Oliva, as well as to Mr David Horta, Coordinator of cultural projects ,  and to  Mr  Oscar Llanes, the artist’s Agent. (Text by Flavia Carbonetti).

 Photo ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano                                                            Photo ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano
Photo ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano