Tamarind Institute hosts a reception to kick off a series of Cuban artists' residencies planned for 2015. On Thursday Feb. 19 from 5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Osmeivy Ortega will share his new Tamarind lithographs, as well as drawings and prints made in Cuba, some of which will be available for sale. Tamarind invites the public to meet this delightful artist and experience his powerful imagery.

Born in 1980, in Havana, Ortega's images of birds and animals tell tales of growing up with his grandmother in the Cuban countryside. After studying law for five years, Ortega changed disciplines and pursued a career as an artist. Today, he teaches printmaking at the Instituto de Artes Superior in Havana. His work is exhibited widely, and he is represented in the United States by Child's Gallery in Boston, Mass.

During the past year, Tamarind Director Marjorie Devon has hosted two tours to Cuba. These educational trips were organized under the auspices of the Latin American and Iberian Institute's People-to-People license. They included an introduction to the people, places, and politics of a nation that North Americans rarely have the opportunity to experience first-hand.

During these trips, Devon had the opportunity to meet many Cuban artists, and invited several of them to make lithographs at Tamarind Institute. The groups that traveled to Cuba with Devon were enchanted by Ortega and his powerful imagery. Devon first met Ortega in 2004, when she juried an exhibition in Havana.

Devon says, "After many years of trying to get a visa for [Osmeivy], we are delighted that he is now in Albuquerque, creating lithographs in collaboration with Tamarind's master printers, Bill, Justin, and Maria. We are grateful to our donors for helping to make this project a reality. It is an honor for us to host these incredibly talented and resourceful artists."

Omar Diaz, curator for National Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes) in Havana, is expected to give a public talk about Contemporary Cuban art in the context of Cuban art history during a planned visit to Tamarind in September.

In December, Tamarind will host artist Abel Barroso, born in 1971 in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Barroso's witty commentary often combines printmaking with sculpture and installation, and has been included in the prestigious Havana Biennial.

Other Cuban artists' residencies are planned for 2015, and will be announced as plans are finalized.

Tamarind Institute, a division of the College of Fine Arts at UNM, is a nonprofit center for fine art lithography that trains master printers and houses a professional collaborative studio for artists.

For more information, visit Tamarind Institute or call (505) 277-3901.