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  • Writer's pictureGined Lopez Ganem

On Lunacy in the Sphere, the first of the Meaculpa Series by Orlando Silvera Hernández

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

There is a ritornello here. A subtext where cultural memory calls us to interact with this piece as improvisational observers for its expression to be complete. This pattern is what makes Locura en la Esfera, 2011 (Lunacy in the Sphere, 2011) by Cuban-born painter Orlando Silvera Hernández at once so familiar, so universal, and so distinctly discoverable.

A vast sphere, marked by painted carnival figures in their most recognizable clown incarnations, beguiles us on this canvas, with the timeless sense of possible entrapment so common to that which is deliberately hidden. Should we uncover these kitschy red noses, or should we accept them as the foibles of fate? The surreal palm endowed with an anthropomorphic trunk seems to challenge such unmasking with a hard stare. And here the improvisational viewer retreats and migrates through the movement of the work.

Migration. When has this topic been more pressing? Migration strikes at the heart of this canvas. How should we approach a figuration so endemic to a particular isle of the Caribbean when the spheres of the unknown surround so many places? Is our wandering improvisation left to pursue a headless ruse?

Of the Cuban flora and fauna represented in the work, birds seem to have the strongest stories. We are presented with a Cuban tody or Cartacuba, partly supported by a palm frond, various migratory birds, and brushstrokes suggesting wind and flight. Yet the only figure left in full outline is the glittering emerald Cuban amazon with its rose-colored throat, ready to repeat what it must, ready to adapt, to insist on survival, however domestic, however alien. And yet she slips to the wind in her translucence, along with our gaze.

The ritorno effect brings us back to the carnival, and we shift once again to the realm of sensation, unsure of what is or what will be repeated or re-patterned, persisting in the absence of logic, in the absence of reason, driven to inevitable flight.

Gined Lopez Ganem

Content Developer, Educator

Miami, FL, USA, November 11, 2021

Exhibition History:

“Mea Culpa” solo expo, Espacio Galería Librería, La Moderna Poesía, Havana, Cuba 2011

“Muraleando” Galería Proyecto Comunitario, Lawton, Havana, Cuba 2013

El Bunker Art Space Miami, FL, USA 2017

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