Primary Flight, The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), and the Union de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC) Unveiled Historical Mural During the 11th Havana Biennial

Havana – June 7 – The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) Europe, Primary Flight and Union de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC) joined forces to promote and implement cultural projects that contribute to the promotion and dissemination of art and contemporary artists during the 11th Havana Biennial. The first initiative was street intervention with the participation of one of the most influential muralists of our time: El MAC. The project titled: El corazón de un sueño palpita entre mis manos (The Heart of a Dream Beats Within My Hands) was presented on G Street between 13 and 15 of the city of Havana.

Over the past six years, Primary Flight has been responsible for the influx and execution of roughly 250+ murals in the Wynwood Arts District and the Miami Design District. This project marks the fifth project in collaboration with El MAC, but the first one outside the United States; he arrived in Havana after painting a 10-story high mural in Mexico City. El MAC’s work can be found around the globe from Saigon to Copenhagen down to Seoul and Tijuana. In partnership Primary Flight, his transcendental presence in Havana marked the beginning of the artistic relationship within the two countries.
“I wanted to paint something responsible, something that inspired people, something relevant,” said EL MAC, “I ended up painting a large figure of a local cook—Adis Naranjo. She is represented in a powerful, hopeful way while looking into the heavens. The color around her hands implies energy, creativity and power. The title of the mural El corazón de un Sueño palpita entre mis manos comes from a poem by the great Cuban poet Jose Angel Buesa. To participate in this initiative was a once in a lifetime opportunity and an honor.” The joint effort of the newly founded CIFO Europe, a subsidiary of Miami CIFO, Primary Flight and UNEAC was created to strengthen the foundation’s mission to promote cultural exchange and promote contemporary art in Latin America. The presentation of the mural coincides with the 11th Havana Biennial to be held from May 11 to June 11, 2012. In the ten years since its founding, CIFO has impacted the Latin American art community by being one of its strongest supporters. Its most successful program, CIFO’s annual Grants and Commissions Program, offers emerging and mid-career contemporary artists from Latin America opportunities to develop and present new work and provides them a unique platform to present projects to local and international audiences. CIFO Europa and the exhibit in Havana are additional vehicles to further this mission.

About CIFO Europe
As an additional branch to CIFO Miami, CIFO Europe is a non-profit organization established by Ella Fontanals-Cisneros and her family to support artists who are exploring new directions in contemporary art. CIFO fosters cultural understanding and educational exchange through three primary initiatives: a Grants and Commissions Program for emerging and mid-career visual artists from Latin America; an exhibitions program showcasing international contemporary art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection at the CIFO Art Space; and foundation-initiated support for other arts and culture projects.

About El MAC
Born in Los Angeles in 1980 to an engineer and an artist, Mac has been creating and studying art independently since childhood. His primary focus has been the lifelike rendering of human faces and figures. He has drawn inspiration from the surrounding Mexican & Chicano culture of Phoenix and the American Southwest, religious art, pin-up art, graffiti, and a wide range of classic artists such as Caravaggio, Mucha, and Vermeer. He began painting with acrylics and painting graffiti in the mid ’90s, and has since worked consistently towards mastering his signature portrait style. Around 1998 he began to paint technicolor aerosol versions of classic paintings by old European masters. This led to being commissioned in 2003 by the Groeninge Museum in Brugge, Belgium to paint his interpretations of classic Flemish Primitive paintings in the museum’s collection. He has since been commissioned to paint murals across the US, as well as in Mexico, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, South Korea, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Spain, France, Singapore, Germany, Ireland, and Vietnam.

Some of his murals have become local landmarks, especially his collaborations with Retna, which combine Mac’s representational figures with Retna’s abstract lettering and designs. In 2008 he created a 100+ foot wide mural for an installation at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and also participated in the Manifest Hope art show during the Democratic National Convention in Denver. His art was used for a Juxtapoz magazine cover feature in 2009, and the cover of LA Weekly for a feature on the Seventh Letter collective.  He has painted large murals during Primary Flight / Art Basel in Miami the last three years in a row. 2009 brought a sold-out solo show at Fifty24SF Gallery in San Francisco, a two-man show with Retna at the Robert Berman Gallery at the Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, along with the publication of a book about Mac & Retna’s artwork published by Upper Playground/Gingko Press. There was also a limited edition Montana spraycan produced in Spain with their artwork on it. In 2010 he painted a large mural on the museum of contemporary art (MARCO) in Monterrey, México as part of the Seres Queridos project.

Mac continues to focus primarily on creating more public art in different parts of the world, painting photorealistic canvases, and evolving his brushwork style. His intent is to uplift and inspire through careful, perfectionist renderings of both the sublime and the humble. Most especially he enjoys the simple challenges and rewards of painting. He works primarily in Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Photography by : Cristina Gonzalez | Dan Grudovich | Kimberly Ann | BooksIIII Bischof