Choco: the breath of life, a catalog of the vast work of the National Plastic Arts Prize Eduardo Roca Salazar, produced by Collage Ediciones of the Cuban Fund of Cultural Assets and the Artcubano label of the National Council of Plastic Arts, was presented at the theater hall of the National Museum of Fine Arts with the presence of the artist and Eusebio Leal Spengler, historian of the city of Havana and National Award of Social Sciences, in addition to the poet and narrator Jesus David Curbelo, editor of the book, and the poet and art critic Nelson Herrera Ysla.
Norma Rodriguez Derivet, president of the National Council of Plastic Arts; Arturo Valdés Curbeira, director of the Cuban Fund of Cultural Assets, Jorge Fernández Torres, who is in charge of the National Museum of Fine Arts, and personalities of culture such as the National Music Award Leo Brouwer and the National Plastic Arts Award Nelson Domínguez.
The volume is a bilingual edition with translation by Laura María Coelho Riesco and numerous "approaches to conceptual and formal transitions" written, among others, by Abel Prieto, Eusebio Leal, Miguel Barnet, Manuel López Oliva, Nancy Morejón and Jaime Sarusky.
Let's see something of what Nelson Dominguez says in the text he dedicates to Choco in the catalog: "He lives in a permanent state of shock and perseverance and is seen constantly exploring materials and supports for his collagraphies, sharing his time with a solid painting, material, in which it could be recognized, at a given moment, the engraver who he is, as in this sense, one can recognize the painter who remains. Choco does not feel satisfied with what has been achieved, as happens with every serious, rigorous artist. His creative restlessness runs like a river within that tall, strong, black body that we all identify immediately and which is also another of his distinctive features".
These ideas of Nelson find echo in the words pronounced by Abel Prieto when awarding Choco with the National Prize of Plastic Arts: «…it can not be denied that the work of Choco has always been accompanied by an impulse, shall we say, towards transcendence, I mean, that he pushes us to look for an extra, something beyond the figures represented. Their faces look towards nothingness, towards emptiness, or towards an imprecise point that remains behind the spectator, and they do so from the immediate present and also, at the same time, from the remote territory of their ancestors. Or perhaps from life or from death or from the border between the two ».
In the presentation, Nelson Herrera Ysla added the following: «Life and work are mixed, they merge in those cards, canvases, volumes reproduced in this book, and there is no way, at least for me, to separate them. Probably not the best for critical analysis, but that is not now, but to stimulate and excite the public with the appearance of this volume more than necessary to feel close to the intimate, organic relationship between life and work».
Eusebio Leal concluded the evening with emotional words to his friend Choco: "Some days ago someone asked you if you had religion, and you responded cautiously that you respected, and in that respect something very important: we all have to know where we came from and where we go. In your painting is the answer. Your answer is like the one given by God on the mountain to the prophet Abraham when he asked him: "And who are you?", He answered: "I am who I am". Dear Choco: you are who you are».
On the cover: Eusebio Leal Spengler, Nelson Herrera Ysla, Jesus David Curbelo and Eduardo Roca Salazar (Choco)