By Jorge Coromina Sánchez
Kevin Cooper, a professional artist and one of the impressionists from the Bahamas who paints mostly landscapes and seascapes, is in Havana these days. He’s not exhibiting or attending any cultural event on the island nation.
Indeed, he’s in Cuba with his mind and eyes set on just one mission: to finish a painting of Alicia Alonso, the larger-than-life Cuban ballet diva.
His work has been in progress for approximately three months. He thinks it’s extremely important to both start and complete the painting in Cuba. “The ambience, the feeling that I get you just want to transform it into the painting. This is vitally important for every artist,” Mr. Cooper told Arte por Excelencias in a brief interview during a social function in Havana a couple of days ago.
“For such an icon as Alicia Alonso, it would be injustice to try to complete the painting somewhere else. So, that’s the reason why I’ve been in Havana, Cuba,” the Bahamian painter went on to say.
The idea of painting Alicia Alonso, the prima ballerina of Cuba’s National Ballet Company didn’t occur to Kevin Cooper. Some people related to the ballet realm asked him a year ago to do the painting, but he was extremely busy back then. As soon as he came back to Cuba, those persons asked Cooper again to embark on that particular project and he eventually accepted.
The artist admits the painting will be ready soon, but he refuses to reveal the date and place of its unveiling. “If I say that that, I’ll be doing some injustice to very, very important people,” Mr. Cooper says in chuckles.
The oil on canvas of Alicia Alonso will be as impressionist as it gets: a full figure of a black swan. Mr. Cooper explains that other artists who have painted Alicia have done it in a different format, so his choice is no doubt one of the most challenging forms.
“A black swan depicts Alicia’s spirit and what she does as a ballerina. This is what I’ll attempt to do, and hopefully the critics will find it worthy to try, to attempt such a painting,” Kevin Cooper told Arte por Excelencias with a big smile.
Everything about this soon-to-be-unveiled painting remains shrouded in a veil of mystery, yet it will definitely be great to feast eyes on an impressionist painting of Alicia Alonso, that of a black swan with a Caribbean touch.