Anyelmaidelin Calzadilla - 2107 - Cuba


I receive many emails from the world over asking for information about the residency program that I hold in my studio. In July 2016 I received one from a Cuban artist interested in electro-etching processes. I replied promptly, affectionately and professionally which is how I always proceed when artists request more information. However, the sheer material effort that the artists have to make to attend our courses prevents many of them from coming in the end and I really believed that that would be the case when I answered Anyelmaidelin, because for a Cuban artist the efforts are even greater than for others who come from other parts of America or Europe. Nevertheless, her interest and determination made it possible for this artist to be able to attend the course for two weeks in April 2017, thanks as well to the collaboration of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba ‘created to protect and promote contemporary Cuban artists and culture’.

It has been a true pleasure to teach her the processes of electro-etching, which she has assimilated fruitfully, although engraving is not her speciality, as she usually works with screen printing. However, her solid knowledge of the technique of traditional etching with acids is clear, as evidenced by the prints she brought with her to show us. These etchings are technically exquisite and delicate, charged with meaning, humour and irony. That knowledge has made it easier for her to learn and assimilate the electrolytic graphic processes that she has practised during her stay. She was even able to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the experiments that I am carrying out with photogravure in collaboration with Helios Vega applying photo-sensitive etch- resistent emulsion and etching the plate with electrolysis.

During her stay she has also  had the opportunity to go hiking with my friends along various of the many trecking trails on the island, visiting among other places the Roque Nublo, the natural landmark of Gran Canaria. She also met other artists visiting the printmaking workshop of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, and could visit the various contemporary art centres and take in some of the exhibitions that were being held at the time on the island.

Pictures from the workshop

Pictures from the printmaking workshop of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria

Anyelmaidelin Calzadillas peaks about her residency

As soon as I learned about the Alfonso Crujera Electro-Etching Workshop on the Internet, I became set on the idea of learning this technical process and teaching it to others at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas San Alejandro in Havanna, Cuba. Although I have fairly solid professional  training and know-how of several techniques of engraving I had yet to try my hand at electrolytic etching. Besides, I was also highly attracted to the possibility of visiting a place with so many historical and cultural links with the Caribbean, and above all, Cuba. For me it is also a plus to get to know other artists and teachers who may be far removed geographically but who are close in their interests and criteria.

Despite the short time of my stay and the amount of technical input to be applied, everything flowed wonderfully mainly due, first and foremost, to the versatility and mastery of Alfonso who knows how to teach and to motivate. Besides, his workshop is perfect for creativity, so beautiful and quiet. The workshop as a work area has absolutely everything you need so that nothing is missing in the learning process.

I am taking away many beautiful things from the island of Gran Canaria: new artwork I made during the workshop that vibrate fully and freely with a life of their own, something all artists pursue, the possibility of transmitting their deepest sensations and dreams. I have new knowledge that I can put into practice and experiment with in Cuba. I also have photos of the breathtaking beauty of the coast and mountain landscapes of Gran Canaria. I have won the friendship of people of amazing simplicity and inestimable warmth. And I have gained the motivated impulse and drive to work artistically to highlight the cultural connections between our Islands.

My most profound gratitude goes to the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba for making my trip possible, to Alfonso and Amparo for their kindness and attention, and to all the people I met whom I now consider to be my friends. A most sincere embrace to you all.

Anyelmaidelin Calzadilla's electro-etchings


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© Alfonso Crujera 2014