In the winter of 2013 Brooklyn-born artist Joseph Milazzo embarked on a 6-week exploration of Cuba, thus becoming the first member of his family to return to the island in over 40 years. His travels took him to every major city across the length of the country before finally reaching the small and dusty village of La Esperanza in the province of Villa Clara. It was here that his grandfather, Enrique Dominguez, was born.
Dominguez was a talented painter in his own right, but he died tragically in his 20s. His works were left behind when the family immigrated to the United States after the revolution, and the paintings were never seen again. Attempting to recover this lost part of his family heritage, Milazzo spent days knocking on doors, speaking to as many locals as he could to try and track down any leads to the missing art. Despite his greatest efforts, the paintings never materialized.
Milazzo returned home empty handed, but the experience was too profound to be seen as a failure. The warmth and generosity of the Cuban people was a revelation that ultimately turned into inspiration. Milazzo has since devoted all his artistic efforts to “The Cuba Series”— his most ambitious project to date. The collection features 20 large-scale portraits based on the people he met during his travels, along with vivid descriptions recounting his interactions with them and the places he visited.
Milazzo's hope is to return to Cuba to give a portion of any paintings sold to those portrayed in the portraits, and to once again attempt to find his grandfather’s lost art.