ORLANDO ALMANZA was born in the Eastern province of Las Tunas, Cuba. He began his studies at the Professional Academy of Visual Arts in the city of Las Tunas.
At 18, he made the long journey from Eastern Cuba to Havana to study at the prestigious Institute of Superior Arts. He began studying sculpture and was intrigued by so many mediums that he made a point of studying as many as he could, including printmaking, classic drawing, installation and oil painting.
His art is a fearless mix of many mediums, often overlapping. Almanza likes to leave clues and unfinished lines for the viewer, showing the many layers and processes behind each piece.
Almanza has exhibited extensively in Havana, as well as in the United States and Mexico. His art belongs to private collections in the United States, Mexico, Ghana, and South Africa. He currently lives in the historic center of Havana.
Havana is the first city I fell in love with. I have always found joy wandering the streets of the historic quarter, La Habana Vieja.
In the early morning hours, you can find calm, quiet moments. Strolling down the magnificent, marble floor of the Paseo de Prado, watching artists and street vendors set up for the day. Walking beneath the magnificent arches on the Plaza de Armas, and peering into the interior patios where peacocks stroll unassumingly.
During the day, the streets are bustling. Large groups of tourists scramble with cameras to try to capture every inch of color and charm. Men with guitars play salsa and boleros in freshly pressed guayaberas. Women sit on their front porches selling flowers and coffee to passersby.
At night, neighbors sit together huddled over domino tables. Artists and musicians stumble down cobblestone streets from one event to another. Rooftop bars fill with an eclectic mix of wanderers, and live music seeps into the humid air.
This is a city that taught me about connection and creativity. It is a place that continues to inspire me in all that I do.