The Artistic History of Antonio Guerrero
By Antonio Guerrero
The History of My Artistic Development
At the beginning of 2003, as I had just completed my first year of imprisonment... I anxiously searched for something that would occupy my time, far from the climate of tension and violence that reigned in this prison.
[T]he prisoner who gave the drawing classes was alone in his cell, and I told the guard: Put me with him. He was surprised because that prisoner was Black, what they call here African American, and here it is rarely seen (nor is it accepted by the prisoners) that prisoners of different races or groups (gangs) live together.
As I hoped, Andre accepted me into his cell and with that shared arrangement my interest in drawing grew and we formed a good friendship.
Every day I dedicated several hours to drawing. ...I remember we were locked down for almost a month, [...] Andre was transferred to another penitentiary in California as soon as our lockdown was lifted.
A Native American, also imprisoned in my unit, took the place of Andre as instructor. We also made a good friendship. Every night we worked together on different projects. The combination of Andre’s teachings and of the new teacher enabled me to create my own method.
The little I have learned I share with other prisoners without reserve, and at times with great patience. “The truth needs art” as Jose Martí said, and truth reigns in our hearts, forged with love and commitment to the just cause of our heroic people: That is my motivation for each work of art.
Touring the United States — Breaking the Silence
From My Altitude premiered in Washington, D.C. in 2009. Since then, the exhibit has traveled to cities across the United States—with future exhibits planned—introducing thousands of people to the Cuban Five and the growing national and international movement to free them.
Antonio’s paintings were produced in the isolation of his prison cell in Florence Colorado Federal Penitentiary. They include portraits of the Cuban Five’s mothers, wives and children, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, familiar landscapes from Cuba, and more.
The exhibit includes 30 pieces, along with the original poetry of Antonio, published in the 2001 collection Desde Mi Altura (From My Altitude).
View the artwork here.
Organize an Exhibit in Your City!
Anyone can help organize a showing! Committed individuals from all walks of life, working with others or through groups that they belong to, have been the key to organizing each show.
The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five works step-by-step with local organizers, providing any necessary support, including:
• Developing a work plan
• Packaging and shipping the exhibit
• Planning an opening event
• Providing expert speakers on the case
• Design and layout of flyers
• Online promotion
• Supplying literature and media on the case
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