JENNY ALFONSO RELOVA
I was born in Cuba in 1976.
Throughout my childhood in Havana I was an extremely creative child, very attracted to colours and textures. I used to see the world through colours, and name people or weekdays after them. I would put aside ready-made toys, to make up new ones with paper, leaves, food, and flowers.
I left Cuba in 1995 for the UK. Whilst living in London, a friend asked me to do him a painting as a birthday present. When I said I was not an artist, he answered he was sure I could do anything with my hands. I went and bought all the material to paint, and here started the wonderful adventure of creation. I discovered a new world full of canvases, shades, textures and brushes. As paintings went by, a whole figurative universe emerged, using symbols from the beginning, to express myself. At the same time I started to study Interior Design at the Regent’s Academy of Fine Arts in London.
From 1996 to 1998 I lived in Madrid, but then I decided I needed beauty in my life in order to continue painting, so I moved to Paris, the city of light. There I found love and the ideal conditions to start serious art work.
By the end of 1999 I had started a series about Cuba. It was a very nostalgic but strong period, with lots of collages and recycling. The shape of the island appeared over and over again. I used to mix black beans with sand on an old wooden window, and cross it with a rainbow of poems. I even created my own Cuban flag with the old jeans I wore as I travelled through Europe!
From 2001 shapes of women were born in acrylic, and collages of roots, leaves, dried flowers came out of recycled materials. As I grew up through these women, I was making up my new self. I started creating glass sculptures, incorporating nature.
In 2003 I moved from Paris to the French Riviera. I bought a charming place to use as my gallery. Since then, creation has literally exploded. Initially women were the main figures, but then it was motherhood. I included living items such as fibres, petals, paper, fruit, soil and wood. I frequently use pastels and acrylic, as well as coffee for pigment. Coffee represents the land as it is so rich in colour and yet so difficult to cultivate, as it needs optimal climate conditions. Its transparencies, its life are a main element of my work. Coffee is the main thread, from one painting to another, it tells the story. The paintings are often divided into several pieces representing the complexity of human beings, all made of “quarters” that form one single entity.
I often draw the giving hands of the mother Earth as a gift from nature to human kind. I try to represent the symbiotic union of the woman as a mother and the universal creation of all things. Some aborigines call it Pachamama, some “Mother Earth”, but for me it is just nature that I am trying to bring back. The cycle of nature, over and over, the egg, the bulb, round bodies, births, the beginning of life every year. As humans, we are far from it. My work looks for reconciliation.
Permanent exhibitions :
2011-2018 "Gaia Luna", Sospel, French Riviera, France.
2004-2010 "Artelier Habana", Sospel, French Riviera, France.
2004-2006 "Sout'à L'aupia", Sospel, French Riviera, France.
2000-2001 "Le Boudoir", Paris, France.
Solo exhibitions :
2018 "Poliptychs and ellipses", Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center, Miami, Florida, United States.
2013 "Fragments", Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center, Miami, Florida, United States.
2011 "Fragmentation", Nice, French Riviera, France.
2009 "Modern Bar", Sospel, French Riviera, France.
2007 “Café sentido”, Barcelone, Spain.
2007 “Café concepto”, Barcelone, Spain. .
2005 “Sout’à Laupia”, Sospel, French Riviera, France.
2004 “Calle 24", Paris, France.
2003 "Le Sputnik", Paris, France.
2003 "Imágenes cubanas” Café-Thêatre "Moloko", Paris, France.
2002 "Le Concorde", BD. St. Germain, Paris, France.
2002 “Au Clos Marcel”, Lac d’ Annecy , France.
2002 "La Hora Latina" Festival , Marsac sur L’ Isle, France.
2002 “Loft in Paris”, Paris, France.
2002 “La Habana, en la Literatura, el Cine y las Artes visuales contemporáneas" Festival , Marseille, France.
2002 “Valérie Tortu”, Paris, France.
2001 "Cuba, utopia y realidad" , La Jonquière, Paris, France.
2001 L’ art au marché, St Maixent l’ Ecole, France.
2001 Maison de Radio France, Paris.
Group exhibitions :
2014-2015 "Cadre-Art", Paris, France.
2014 "Mar por Cuba", Coral Gables, Miami, Florida, United States.
2014 "Plume d'ange", Sospel, French Riviera, France.
2014 "Autour de l'olivier", EBMosaiques Gallery, Sospel, French Riviera, France.
2013 "Mar por Cuba", Coral Gables, Miami, Florida, United States.
2009-2010 Qbava Gallery, New Jersey, New York, United States.
2008 "Mar por Cuba", Coral Gables, Miami, Florida, United States.
2006 Croix Rouge Française, Ollioules, France.
2004 European Festival “Studio Open Doors”, The Italian Institute; Dublin, Ireland.
2004 European Festival “Studio Open Doors”, The Browns Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.
2003 “Cuba en blanco y negro” Cuban Festival , Horizontes del Sur Association, Marseille, France.
2002 "Artistas cubanos en hommage à Wilfredo Lam", Intemporel Gallery, Paris, France.
2002 48ème Salon International, Thouars, France.
2001 “La Vuelta Latina” Festival, Blois, France.
2001 "Salon Marivalois", Chateau de Lacapelle-Marival, France.
2001 "Salon des Artistes Indépendants", Venes, France.
2001 "Mundo Latino" Festival , Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.
2001 "Homenaje a la Plástica", 2nd Internacional Show, C. Cinematográfico Yara, Havana, Cuba.
2001 Cubain artists, UNESCO, Paris, France.
2000 “Interclub 17" Cultural Center, Paris , France.
2000 Salon des Artistes-Peintres de la Mairie, Paris, France.
Group exhibitions with the LéZARD CUBAiN association :
2010 Mediathèque, Sospel, French Riviera, France.
2005 Artelier Habana, Sospel, French Riviera, France.
2005 Modern Bar, Sospel, French Riviera, France.
2004 “Villa Amiel”, Sospel, French Riviera, France.
2004 “L’Âme de Cuba” Cuban Festival, Vincennes, France.
2004 "Portes ouvertes du XIV arrondissement", Marché de l’Art contemporain, Paris, France.
2003 “Novembre couleurs cubaines”, Maison des Provinces, Blois, France.
2003 Centre International CIMADE, Massy, France.
2003 Le Concorde, BD. St. Germain, Paris, France.
2003 “Made in Cuba”, La Jonquière, Paris, France.
2003 Abracadabar, Paris, France.
2004 Prize to the best association by the "Gerstaecker des Beaux Arts" Catalog, France.
2002 1st Prize "Salon Internacional", Thouars, France.
2001 Prize for young artists at the "Salon annuel" , Vernou, France.
2000 2nd Prize and medal of the City of Paris at the "Salon des artistes-peintres de la Mairie du 17ème arrondissement", Paris, France.
Spain, France, Cuba, Australia, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Ireland.
Town Hall of Marsac sur L’ Isle, France.