Images cross lines of culture / Your supposed to touch this artwork

The Miami Herald

April 12, 1998

By John Vitale

1998-crosslinesofcultureXavier Cortada’s work is a treasure trove of Cuban symbols.

Paintings that include santeria imagery, Che Guevara and political prisoners abound.

The catch is, however, that Cortada is American-born.
That means American icons sneak into his canvasses, too, like an overflowing beer mug and a college fraternity toga in one self-portrait entitled Cubaba — also the name of this ArtCenter-South Florida show now on view at 1037 Lincoln Rd. through May 9.

In addition, Cubaba is the name Anglo fraternity brothers gave Cortada when they could not pronounce his name, one of many stories the artist paints of not quite fitting in, of feeling American around Cubans and Cuban around Americans.

Born in upstate New York and raised in Miami, the richness of Cortada’s Cuban-American identity developed into a very strong Caribbean look to his art.

His work draws strongly from the cubistic forms of Picasso and the Cuban imagery of Wilfredo Lam and Amelia Paez to forge what is an intriguing look at the effects of Cuban immigration