Andrea Alciato had discovered in his emblem number eleven a singular way to represent silence: a man in a library, seated at a desk covered in folia looks at the spectator, and with his index finger on his lips, demands silence from the latter. Below, still part of the engraving, there is a text in Latin that calls for prudence. It is at this confluence where image and text create an allegory.

This has been my favorite emblem, starting one day when I believed to have found images alone lacking. Many things have happened since, and I was suspicious of images and had understood, as the creator of that emblem, I think understood that only through the union of image and text could there be a construct that spelled out a truth and included a picture.

One day, Orlando Zapata dies. I search for his image, and found it, but it is a photograph of very poor quality. Therefore, although I had an idea of what his face looked like, it was always in an abstract, blurry manner. This photographic document is also an identification one. The photo seems to have been taken from a [Cuban] identification booklet. I felt crushed when I realized this because this image is not a memory. It is simply an instrument of control, a way to be identified, but by the police.

Apparently, Orlando did not have many photographs. There are two others on the internet, but they are also of low resolution. Paradoxically, it is this image, the one taken to excise control over him, that in some way has become an emblem of his liberty, or more accurately, of Liberty.

Later, I decided to create “Némesis”, a performance piece that consists of projecting that very same photograph on the facades of buildings that shelter representatives of the [Cuban] dictatorship. One of the difficulties I found during the performance was precisely the bad quality of the image, mostly to project it from a certain distance and still keep Zapata’s face recognizable. I think that in some way, and not without some difficulty, this was finally achieved.

A few days ago, (still unsatisfied with this image) I decided to use it as a model, and try to paint a portrait. It was not an easy task because it lacks detail, volume, etc. I had to imagine many things about this face. Today, I have finished the emblem: the portrait is the image; Orlando Zapata is its text.

All who so wish can use this image-emblem. It is my gift to all who desire Liberty for Cuba.

Geandy Pavón

for the freedom of all cuban political prisoners
| Share