Franklin Alvarez, b. Camaguey, 1971, now lives and works in Havana. He studied in the Camaguey art schools from 1983 to 1990, and from 1993 to 1998 at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana, from which he graduated. He worked as a professor of painting there until 2001. He is the recipient of several awards including the Raúl Martínez prize awarded him in 1998 at ISA, and a Jackson Pollock scholarship in New York in 2005. His work has been shown in dozens of solo and group shows in Cuba, Belgium, China, Russia, Mexico, Spain, Chile, Germany, Italy, and the United States, including at the Cuban Art Space. Among his most recent shows were two excellent solo exhibits at the Servando Gallery in Havana, “Underwater Kingdom” (2006) and “Sparring” (2008). His last group show in Cuba was “Cubanos convertibles” at the Havana Gallery. In December, 2008, Edward Gómez wrote this about Franklin’s work: … the painter Franklin Alvarez Fortún subtly takes on the themes of feeling trapped and struggling to survive in some of his newest works… “I’m interested in how social changes and attitudes find expression in or on the human body or through its actions,” he says. He has made charcoal sketches of objects he would like to execute three-dimensionally, showing people diving headfirst into dumpsters (a reference to Cuba’s trash-picking urban poor). Only their legs stick up and out of the metal containers, like the stalks of truncated plants. He has painted portraits of men on punching bags, an allusion, perhaps, to the hard knocks many Cubans must learn to withstand throughout their lives. In another series of oil-on-canvas paintings and related watercolors and drawings, male or female figures appear against bright, blue skies, their arms outstretched like birds in flight. “They’re caught in a moment of great suspense,” Alvarez explains. “They don’t know what might happen next.”
His works are in collections in Austria, Cuba, Italy, Luxemburg, Mexico, Spain, and the United States. His work is included in the Howard J.Farber Collection of Cuban Art in the U.S.