For Cuban plastic artist Alexis Leyva Machado, known as "Kcho", Art has a healing ability that can enrich and beautify lives of others. For Cuban plastic artist Alexis Leyva Machado, known as Kcho, Art has a healing ability that can enrich and beautify other people life.
This maxim, his commitment and total dedication has poured them into a project of renewed hope. In "Romerillo", a socially complex neighborhood, comes to life its own workshop, an art room, a public library, sports and children's facilities.
Kacho was born in Nueva Gerona, Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), in 1970. However, Havana welcomes him since he was 15 years old when he went to study at Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas (National School of Plastic Arts), graduating in 1990.
During the time he stayed in that school, neighborhood called Romerillo became practically his home. There in the popular council Cubanacan, in Playa municipality, Kcho met its inhabitants and the area's main social problems. This was the reason to choose it as the ideal site for his project "Kcho Studio Romerillo. Laboratory for art".
For this it was preceded by strong community work since 2013 with a goal of transforming physical and mental spaces of Romerillo's neighborhood. In this way the desolated and empty spaces where converted into playgrounds, a healthy bio gym, and in areas for relaxation and sports.
Improvement of lighting and public telephone service, as well as remodeling and rescue the place cellar, were works developed thanks to this project. Work was added to solve landfill sewers and debris collection.
An old school bus repair shop, changed its deteriorated appearance and became headquarters of Kcho Studio, starting on March 8, 2014.
At the inauguration was present the historical leader of Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, as well as Eusebio Leal, Havana City historian, along with renowned artists and residents of Romerillo.
For that special occasion, public was able to access an exhibition of original works by Wilfredo Lam and others by Kcho. An event to formalize so much dedication and passion of a multi-awarded artist.
Installation includes a classroom and a contemporary art gallery for large-scale works called "La Nave", where national and foreign artists exhibit. It also has Romerillo experimental graphic workshop.
It also highlights the creation of public library Commander of Cuban Revolution Juan Almeida Bosque provided with numerous art books and scientific-technical issues. According to press, there was born first free internet service in Cuba.
But Kcho's project also stands out for hosting a theater hall for small-format works and art room Marta Machado, in honor of his mother, a tireless worker and popular artist. It is also distinguished by La Colmenita de Romerillo (Romerillo's Hive) children's theater project, which involves the whole family.
Permanent and free workshops of plastic arts, printmaking, theater and cinema are held in Studios locations, which are highly demanded by public and art students.
The work carried out by artist Alexis Leyva in Romerillo, also includes creation of the Organic Museum. It opens every day and receives visit of many people of dissimilar places of Antillean Island and whole world.
Romerillo is no longer the same neighborhood that it was before, now there is another air and its inhabitants are inserted in the artistic works carried out by Kcho and his team. Engaged in placing art at the center of life, this creator struggles to make it a first order necessity for the inhabitants of his beloved capital district.
Beyond Cuba, his works enjoy great prestige. It stands out for its status as a sculptor, painter, printmaker, performance artist and curator, politician and diplomat.
Among his merits are having become in 1995, at 25 years of age, the youngest artist in Latin America that was part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In that same year he was awarded the Grand Prize of the I Biennial of Kwangju in South Korea.
His extensive curriculum also includes the Ludwig Aachen Foundation Scholarship, Germany (1994) and the UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts, Paris (1995), the Atelier Calder Residency, Sache, France (1999) and Diploma to Artistic Merit granted by the Higher Institute of Art, Havana, Cuba (2001).
However, his greatest work and recognition is to have brought art to the community as a transformer, with the infinite desire to cultivate and multiply hope.