About Manuel Mendive
b. 1944, resides in Cuba
Mendive’s art cannot be separated from his identity as a Santero. He is a loyal practitioner of a religion that, in 1990s Cuba, ceased to be regarded solely as a refuge for poor blacks and mulattoes and assumed a multiracial, multiclass character. In a secular, materialistic, modern society that views all religious extremism with suspicion, Mendive’s art has gained acceptance in the guise of folklore or exotic spectacle. The key to its interpretation, however, does not lie in the sensibility of the tourist, who eagerly snaps up souvenirs as proof of voyages round the world. Instead, it lies in the unity between the artist’s vision and his means of expression, in the intensity of his search and his ethical commitment.