Icograda Congress Report: Cuba Gráfica Show

CR’s Mark Sinclair is blogging from the Icograda World Design Congress in Havana. In this post, he visits the Cuba Gráfica exhibition, a retrospective of Cuban graphic design from 1959-2007 and talks to Eladio Rivadullo, the designer of the very first poster created for the Cuban revolution of 1959 (shown above).
In addition its seven day conference, the Icograda Congress boasts a range of satellite events and exhibitions. With Cuba hosting the Congress this year, many of the country’s designers have taken the opportunity to show some of their best work in a host of different venues around Havana. The largest show, Cuba Gráfica, was a comprehensive retrospective of Cuban visual communication design, and included examples of editorial and identity design, posters, websites, motion graphics, packaging and stamps from 1959 to 2007. Curated by Pepe Menendez, Pedro Contreras and Hector Villaverde, the exhibition is currently on show in the stunning setting of publishing house/gallery, Casa de las Americas, in the Vedado district of Havana. The opening night was popular with Icograda delegates and Cuban designers alike and I also had the pleasure of meeting a special guest, too – Eladio Rivadulla, the man behind the first poster ever designed for the Cuban revolution of 1959.

Rivadulla poster
CR’s Mark Sinclair is blogging from the Icograda World Design Congress in Havana. In this post, he visits the Cuba Gráfica exhibition, a retrospective of Cuban graphic design from 1959-2007 and talks to Eladio Rivadullo, the designer of the very first poster created for the Cuban revolution of 1959 (shown above).

In addition its seven day conference, the Icograda Congress boasts a range of satellite events and exhibitions. With Cuba hosting the Congress this year, many of the country’s designers have taken the opportunity to show some of their best work in a host of different venues around Havana. The largest show, Cuba Gráfica, was a comprehensive retrospective of Cuban visual communication design, and included examples of editorial and identity design, posters, websites, motion graphics, packaging and stamps from 1959 to 2007. Curated by Pepe Menendez, Pedro Contreras and Hector Villaverde, the exhibition is currently on show in the stunning setting of publishing house/gallery, Casa de las Americas, in the Vedado district of Havana. The opening night was popular with Icograda delegates and Cuban designers alike and I also had the pleasure of meeting a special guest, too – Eladio Rivadulla, the man behind the first poster ever designed for the Cuban revolution of 1959.

Now 84, Rivadullo remains in fine shape and was kind enough to tell me the story of the first revolutionary poster. “It has quite a history,” he recalled. “In the morning, a friend called me. He said, ‘Batista has left the country!’ So I started thinking about it and designed this poster, and printed it, too, that morning on the 1st of January 1959. It was made really quickly; I employed the same ‘mask’ for the silkscreen print so that the two colours could be added quickly. It was then used to welcome Fidel Castro when he arrived back in Cuba.”

As is the way with Icograda, many delegates meet for the first time here and find that they have much in common, often a personal connection. After our chat, for example, it was discovered that Rivadulla’s son (also called Eladio) taught graphic design in Ecuador and was actually a colleague of the man who had, by chance, volunteered his translation services for our interview.

So, here are some more images from this fantastic show of Cuban visual communication… all on display at Cuba Gráfica, Casa de las Américas, calle G y 3ra, Vedado, Havana, Cuba.

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Wall mural based on a poster by Alfredo Rostgaard in the Casa de las Americas (the publishing house/gallery space where Cuba Gráfica is being held).

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A celebrated example of Cuban graphic design from Raul Martinez, the first Cuban artist to explore the psychedelic aesthetics of the late 60s (poster from 1969).

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Linocut prints as displayed in the area by the lifts in the gallery space.

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