Hatuey: Rebel Chief

Paintings by Ric Garcia

July 10 – August 31, 2020

Artist Conversation: August 13, 7pm.


Hatuey (hat-way), fought Spanish colonialism in the Caribbean during the early 1500’s and is commemorated as “The First Rebel of the Americas” in a monument in Cuba. In addition, his image is reproduced on many commercial products in the Caribbean that are exported to several countries including the United States. Artist Ric Garcia embraces the commodification of Hatuey and transforms the product themes concerned with taste and quality to themes of anti-slavery, freedom fighting, and independence that more closely align with the historical passions of this Native peoples leader.

Artist Statement:

 My favorite childhood movies and cartoons during the 1970’s were full of imagery depicting Cowboys and Indians. I always idolized the Indians in these stories. What an exciting coincidence that a favorite beverage from the Caribbean “Malta Hatuey”, bore an image of an “Indio” who was recognized as a Cuban hero.

 I came to later think of Hatuey (hat-way) as a cultural parallel to the Native American heroes idolized in those childhood years. Heroes such as Geronimo and Sitting Bull who fought against overwhelming opponents; then after defeat and over time came to be similarly romanticized and commodified by the descendants of their opponents.

 My work embraces Hatuey’s commodification and transforms the themes about taste and quality found on products using his image to themes about anti-slavery, freedom fighting and independence that more closely align with the historical passions of this Taíno chief.  

Title: Hatuey Smokes
Size: 48×24 inches / Framed 49×25 inch
Medium: oil on canvas (varnished)

Hatuey Smokes

Title: Hatuey Libre
Size: 40×30 inches/ Framed 41x31inch
Medium:oil on canvas. (varnished)

Hatuey Not A Slave

Title: Hatuey Not A Slave
Size:30×30 inches/ Framed 31×31 inch
Medium:acrylic on canvas (varnished)
Price: $1,600

Title: Hatuey Bold
Size:30×40 inches / Framed 31x41inch
Medium:acrylic on canvas(varnished)
Price: $1,800

Hatuey Rich

Title: Hatuey Rich
Size:30×40 inches / Framed 31x411inch
Medium:acrylic on canvas (varnished)