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Cenia Gutierrez Alfonso

Mystical imagery paints Cuban dreams

Preferring simplicity over subtlety, and bright, bold coloration, arte naif (naïve art) is generally practiced by self-taught painters. In Cuba, the style, rendered in vibrant hues, offers a unique reflection of art and society. During the heyday of American tourism in Cuba in the 1950s, there was a heavy demand for Cuban folkloric painting. Following the revolution in 1959, this style of art was looked down upon for a time among the artistic elite, with naïve art being considered a less-important genre. As a result, naïve art was relatively unseen in the United States until recently.

Cenia Gutierrez Alfonso has been painting since she was a child, drawing inspiration from the world around her and the stories and legends she heard growing up. She specializes in the style of arte naif, and like many of the artists who work in that genre, she is entirely self-taught. Her work focuses both on the everyday urban and rural life she sees around her small Cuban village of Cienfuegos, and on the saints of the Santeria religion. Utilizing India ink to craft intricate drawings on canvas, Cenia then applies acrylic paint to enliven her images with color as vibrant as Cuban culture.   

The world around her provides her with a constant source of inspiration, and Cenia never finds herself without a muse to inspire her art. She has exhibited her work in the library and pre-schools in Cienfuego, and she takes great pride in the joy her artwork brings to children. Cenia delights in furthering the tradition of arte naif, and exhibiting her art to the world at large.