Jesús Lara Sotelo, Cuban painter and writer, was born in 1972 in Havana and grew up in the central San Lázaro street of the picturesque neighborhood of Cayo Hueso. Until eighteen years of age, he suffered from severe asthma that, in his childhood, limited him to spaces of introversion and family refuge in which he discovered the creativity that allowed him to make his first drawings at age four. He made academic studies of Mechanical Design while learning self-taught about painting and other subjects in the space of the National Library of Cuba. That is why, being recognized by specialists in Plastic Arts of his municipality (Centro Habana), he has the possibility of making his first personal exhibition at age 17, with the title Me refiero al hombre.
This exhibition, in addition to reflecting his technical mastery, revealed concerns that have remained orbiting until now in the artist’s imagination: human behavior and its diversity in the postmodern environment. The young painter announces a speech to and from freedom, without ties to any style, urgencies or trends of the moment, only resorting to them under the demands of his artistic conscience.
Throughout the 90s, involved in the transit to a long period of precariousness on the island, he performs five series of abstract painting and three personal exhibitions (one of them in the United States). By this time, he consolidates his work as a landscaper, moving away from the patterns that had identified the genre in Cuba until that moment. His conception of perspective, composition, and palette distance his landscape from tropicalism and universalize his production in this genre.
His first book ¿Quién eres tú, God de Magod?,1991, (published in 2008) was born in this initiatory stage of the artist. According to the late essayist and art critic Rufo Caballero, the poems are an act of courage in which “the author writes as one who is aware that he founds a language, that opens a world instead of reproducing it”.
Since then he has written 50 books of poetry, two of aphorisms and one of stories, of which 12 have been published by Cuban and foreign publishers. Two poetic anthologies have been made with his work. The genre of the portrait has also been an identification of his work, for which he has used various types of materials and techniques ranging from drawing to charcoal, collage, and oil; his technique is recognizable due to the psychological deepening of the subject portrayed. The artist also intervenes in the photographic universe since 1995, in sculpture since 2003 and works ceramics from 2006 to the present.
He has made more than 40 personal and 30 collective exhibitions inside and outside of Cuba. His work can be seen in galleries and institutional collections of countries such as Spain, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, France, United Kingdom, Ecuador, Venezuela, and the United States. Among other recognitions, he has received the Distinguished Visitor Condition of Guatemala City (2011). The Declaration as an illustrious citizen of the City Council of Capmany together with the prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso, Catalonia, Spain (2011), and the Recognition of Usefulness of Virtue for its promotion of Martí’s thought (2015).