War Hero



Digital printing 132x90cm.

Each country has its own myths, legends, and beliefs that enrich its collective and most common imagery.

The artist Jorge Otero has one potential historical interpretation of the origin of the word “guajiro” (name used to describe the rural population in Cuba). This word is said to come from the expression "War Hero", which U.S. soldiers stationed in Cuba generally used to describe Cubans with a hat and machete during the Cuban War of Independence.

From this legendary reference, the artist presents a prototype of the Cuban peasant, which defines his universe and creates a dialogue describing the peasants’ social reality. From a critical and reflexive stance the artist deals with the problems inherent in contemporary society. In this regard, the hat, the machete, the guayabera, and handkerchief all become symbols or objects whose qualities transcend identity and thus become elements of structure.

These items are re-contextualized into a strong symbolism which creates various interpretations reflecting on ancestral themes such as power relations, identity, the generational social role to be played by the individual, the historical development of that role, and the challenge of surviving in a turbulent and hostile environment.

These works of art, in addition to their authenticity, are distinguished by the sophistication of their complex representations, as well as their exquisite and formal aesthetic, which reflect the artist's ideas. These ideas are summarized by the artist himself, when he describes the work as a symbol that represents the multiple facets of the everyday life of the common man, contrasted with a warmonger’s nuanced reality of sly struggles and truces. He is the main character of my work, a hero from previous battles; a survivor who is both war hero and common man all in one.