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Flower Power: Cultivando / Flowers for Cuba
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Flower Power

Cultivando | Fruta Bomba | 500 | Flor |
Digital tapestry:  1 | 2 | 3

Flower Power

Above:  Xavier Cortada, "Cultivo un Rosa Blanca," digital art (2014)

Cortada's Flower Power exhibit opens on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 at 5 pm. The first "Cultivando | Flowers for Cuba" flower-drawings to be planted will be those created by students from Plantation Key Elementary School and Key West High School.  Cortada will visit the schools (on February 19th and 21st, respectively) to give students their seeds and collect their flower-drawings.  

The flower-drawings will be scanned and uploaded on the project website.  Participants can also upload images of their flower gardens (and--for online participants, their flower-drawings, too) by clicking here

New Beginnings

Museum visitors are invited to participate through the end of the exhibit in mid-March.  There is no charge to visit the museum or to participate in the project.  The Oldest House and Garden Museum is located at 322 Duval Street in Key West (see

Xavier Cortada's Flower Power exhibit at the Oldest House and Garden Museum is part of ONE RACE THE HUMAN RACE / UNA RAZA, LA RAZA HUMANA – an international cultural exchange with Cuban artists, presented by a consortium of Key West cultural organizations.  Please click here to read Artist's Statement (to the People of Cuba).



Through the "Flower Power: Cultivando | Flowers for Cuba" participatory art project at 
the Oldest House & Garden Museum in Key West, FL, Xavier Cortada is asking Americans to draw pictures of flowers, write messages on the back of the drawings, and "plant" the pictures in the garden. 

The Cuban-American artist will also provide project participants with a packet containing Florida wildflower seeds.  Participants are asked to plant those seeds at home and dedicate their garden to kids in Cuba.

The original flower drawings and messages will be distributed to kids in Cuba.

"Each flower-drawing displayed on the museum lawn represents one garden an American is planting at home and dedicating to a child in Cuba.  

I want kids in Cuba to know that Americans love them and are thinking about them," stated Cortada.  "I want Americans to think about the kids in Cuba every time they see their flowers in bloom."

The backdrop for the Cultivando | Flowers for Cuba (flower-drawing) garden at the Oldest House & Garden Museum will be a 6' x 18' mural Cortada is creating onsite.  The work, inspired by his interaction with Cuban artists during his stay in Key West, is to depict a series of fruits falling upon the the island of Cuba.  Each fruit-- the product of a flower-- represents the fruits of an open society that will come to Cuba when it is finally free: a thriving economy, equal justice for all, rule of law, free and fair elections, freedom of assembly, speech, worship, and travel, human rights, etc. 


The entrance of the Oldest House and Gardens Museum will feature digital tapestries Cortada created for the exhibit, a cultural exchange with Cuban artists in Key West:
  • "Cultivo una Rosa Blanca," 72" x 36", sublimation dye on fabric, (2014)
    In creating 2014's "Cultivo una Rosa Blanca," Cortada used a white rose he had painted ten years earlier for the "Painted Cuban Plane and Freedom Luggage Installation."

  • "XII. Rosa,72" x 36", sublimation dye on fabric, (2014)
    In creating "XII. Rosa," Cortada used a white rose he had painted in his 2000 work titled, "XII. Paredon."

  • "Flor pa Cayo Hueso,72" x 36", sublimation dye on fabric, (2014)
    In creating "Flor pa Cayo Hueso," Cortada used this 2013 wildflower painting "Flor."  The work commemorates the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon landing in our peninsula and naming it "La Florida" --from "flor," the Spanish word for flower.  More at

Flor, a 48" x 36" acrylic on canvas painting hangs inside the Oldest House house foyer next to a painting by the late Mario Sanchez.  The work depicts a native Florida wildflower.  Cortada created the painting to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon landing in our peninsula and naming it "La Florida" --from "flor," the Spanish word for flower. More about Cortada's commemoration of Florida's Quincentennial at

At the entrance of the garden, visitors will also see Cortada's "500" installation referencing Florida's history and its connection with Havana over five centuries:  Juan Ponce de Leon died in Habana in 1521, after being injured in the leg on the west coast of Florida by the spear of a Calusa warrior.

lease click here here to see images of the 500 wildflower sculptures as they were originally installed at the work's inaugural exhibit in 2013 at the Biscayne Nature Center, in Key Biscayne)

Cortada's work in Key West is presented by The Studios Key West, where he is in residence during February 2014.  See

FIU College of Architecture + The Arts

Xavier Cortada
Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts
420 Lincoln Road, Suite 430
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Xavier Cortada's participatory art practice is based at Florida International University.


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