René Mederos: color and struggle

René Mederos (1933-1996) was a Cuban graphic designer from this wonderful generation from the early years of the Revolution. With limited resources available, Mederos masterfully used whatever he could access to produce colorful and memorable images.

But Mederos should also be remembered for the way in which he carried out his work. He was the polar opposite of the designers from the big time agencies of the 1960s who are revered in the West as the creative genius prototype. Instead, during this time, Mederos interchangeably wielded a brush, a machete or a rifle: his graphic production was forged by social struggles. These were the constant inspiration for his themes and the raison d’être for his work. Mederos’ life and work are the proof that graphic production has a role to play on the battle front lines.

Click on the crosses to find out more

The vibrant colors in Mederos’ images are fueled directly by what is depicted, since he was a close witness to these historical episodes. He chose graphic work as a way to express them, and his posters are an eloquent testament to Global South struggles over the XX century. A testimony which, beyond its artistic merits, demands much more than mere aesthetic contemplation from the audience, taking it to the line of fire where the history of those who struggle and resist is written.

Text and artwork: Kael Abello; Translation: Ricardo Vaz


Sources:

Center for Cuban Studies: obituary of Rene Mederos

La historia del 26 de Julio en láminas artísticas
del pintor Mederos

Pintor cubano René Mederos y su amor por Vietnam

René Mederos Pazos: Cuba y Vietnam en sus carteles

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