Pedro Pablo Oliva (born 1949) is one of Cuba’s most famous and influential living artists. Known as a chronicler of his time, Oliva’s fantastical and provocative paintings, drawings and sculptures reflect Cuba’s social, cultural and political life during the last half-century. His highly personal style is characterized by vivid color and dream-like imaginative scenes populated with fantastical creatures. His imagery is inspired by comic strips, caricature and contemporary culture, and combines childhood memories with day-to-day realities of life in Cuba.

Oliva was born in Pinar del Río, Cuba. Following studies at the Escuela Provincial de Artes Plásticas in Pinar del Rio, he moved to Havana and continued his education at the Escuela Nacional de Arte de La Habana. He has exhibited widely in Cuba and has won numerous prizes and distinctions, including the National Prize of Visual Arts (2006), the highest recognition granted in Cuba to creators of the visual arts. Oliva has also served as an important teacher to a younger generation of Cuban artists.

Oliva has gained an international reputation through his impressive exhibition record in Latin America, the United States and Europe. His paintings and sculptures have been featured in more than twenty individual exhibitions and hundreds of group exhibitions in galleries, biennials and art fairs. Collected widely, his works are found in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana in Cuba, as well as other collections in Brazil, Mexico, Canada, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland.

This exhibition is a part of Bulla Cubana, a celebration of arts and culture, promoting the exchange of ideas and inspiration between Cuba and the North Central Florida region. Taking place in and around the cultural centers of Gainesville, Bulla Cubana showcases the extraordinary artistic talent of invited fine artists, muralists, dancers, musicians, chefs, photographers and filmmakers for a month-long, city-wide celebration, March 2019.

This exhibition is made possible by the Dr. Madelyn Lockhart Endowment for Focus Exhibitions at the Harn Museum of Art.

Fruticuba from the series “Navegantes,