David Velázquez Torres (Havana, 1976)
David Velázquez has a broad artistic practice which includes drawing, painting, sculpture and photography, but he is known, above all, for his work as a ceramicist. After graduating from Cuba’s National School of Crafts, he studied for a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Havana in the field of Socio-Cultural Studies. His father was the renowned master potter, painter and artist Fernando Velázquez Vigil who, the artist explains, “when I was a kid, taught me that my hands were irreplaceable tools to invent forms from the mud, and he got me into the spirit of overcoming, rather than letting me be dragged through what was fashionable, in order to find a road that was mine.”
His work has been described as “full of humour, metaphors and scathing ironies”, inhabited by “male characters, usually self-referential,” and imbued with many qualities including “intelligence, tact, spontaneity and sincerity.” Obscuring the line between high art and popular culture, he has addressed many themes in his work, including the controversies of today’s youth and the uncertainty of human beings throughout the world about the future.
In 2015 he participated with 14 other Cuban artists in an exhibition, “Miradas (Looks)”, as part of the Viva Arte Viva Project, a cultural exchange between Brazil and the Portuguese-speaking communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The project aims to provide a space where artists can share techniques, methods and artistic languages and can gain knowledge of each country’s creative practices. The exhibition was co-sponsored by Havana gallery Artis 718, which is also collaborating with Presente!.
Velazquez is a member of the Cuban Association of Craft Artists, President of the ceramic section of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC), and he is a cultural advisor to the Wifredo Lam Gallery. He has exhibited in solo shows as well as over 30 group shows in Cuba (extensively, including in the last two Biennials), Brazil, Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, New York, Qatar, and elsewhere, and has won numerous awards for his ceramic art.