Exhibition “Korda, Cuba, Che Glamour” in Museum Cobra

Guerrillero Heroico, 1960©Korda Estate

On Thursday, 17 March an exhibition called Korda: Cuba, Che Glamour was opened by the Ambassador of Cuba, Mrs. Anet Pino Rivero. Present were the Mayor of Amstelveen, Mr. Tjapko Poppens, the Director of the Cobra Museum, Mr. Stefan van Raay, the curator Mrs. Cristina Vives and many guests.

The exhibition is a major retrospective exhibition that celebrates the masterful work of the renowned Cuban photographer Alberto Diaz Gutiérrez, known as Korda (Cuba 1928 – France, 2001).

Korda is the author of Che Guevara’s most iconic portrait, dubbed Heroic Guerrilla, dated March 5, 1960, considered to be the most reproduced still in the history of photography, as well as one of the most representative images of the 20th century. Korda was also one the photographers of the Cuban Revolution (1959) and documented a graphic diary with the epic iconography that marked the first years of this period. His work composes an important historical documentation, basilar to the understanding of the revolutionary spirit and character of those involved.

Less known is the fact that Korda was initially a fashion and advertising photographer founder in 1954 of one of the first studios dedicated to the media in Cuba. From the beginning, Korda always had a very distinctive approach to photography working exclusively with natural light and being precise about framing and composition, envisioning his photos to be authentic stories about female beauty. Korda used this same approach when photographing the revolution. He knew how to take advantage of the sex appeal and beauty of revolutionary people in the Caribbean Island

Curator Christina Vives, says: Korda: Cuba, Che, Glamour showcases an extremely versatile artist, most simply the illustrator of a particular moment in the political history, no matter how interesting or newsworthy this period was. His works extend from commercial advertising to politics, from depicting celebrities to portraying the guerrillas, from the sensuality of female nudes to the scientific observation of Cuba’s seas. And he did all of this without diminishing either genres or subjects, moving naturally and authentically between glamour, beauty and revolution”.

Mr. Stefan van Raay, Director of the Cobra Museum gave a presentation, mentioning that it is the first retrospective of Korda’s work in the Netherlands. It has taken Diana Diaz, the daughter of Korda, and the curator Diana Vives more than 20 years to reconstruct part of the Korda Legacy. From 1968 on, when all private companies were nationalized including Korda’s studio, Korda focused on underwater photography off the Cuban coasts. Mr. van Raay thanked Diana Diaz, Cristina Vives and Terra Esplendida for making this exhibition possible and also thanked all the sponsors.

Then a Spanish poem “El Pozo” was read by Cesar Salazar accompanied by live music.

After her words of welcome to the audience, the Ambassador of Cuba, Ms. Anet Pino Rivero, mentioned in her opening speech that it is a great pleasure that in 2022, the artistic beauty of Kora is shown in the Cobra Museum as this year also the 120 Anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Cuba and Netherlands is celebrated, two celebrations, this excellent exhibition and the anniversary of the bilateral relations.
The Ambassador mentioned that Korda became internationally known as the author of the portrait of Che Guevara, entitled “Guerrillero Heroico” very famous picture but he also has to be recognized for his wide job: photos of the very beginning of the Cuban revolution and the revolutionary leaders, portraits of women and images of the Cuban seas. Korda mixed in a fantastic way the glamour, beauty and revolution.

The Ambassador thanked Mr. Stefan van Raay, Mrs. Diana Diaz (Korda’s daughter) and Cristina Vives. She invited the audience to enjoy the wide artistic work of the Cuban photographer “Korda” that the Cobra Museum kindly give the opportunity to appreciate.

The exposition is to be seen from 25.03-2022 – 26.06.2022 in the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen

Written by Nanda Jagusiak-Monteiro