Reinaldo Pagán Ávila

Reinaldo Pagán Ávila was born in Santiago de Cuba on December 8, 1971. He became interested in painting at an early age and was often chosen by his teachers to represent his school in art contests.

He was accepted at the José Joaquín Tejada Art School in 1983, later graduating as an instructor of drawing and painting.

In 1991 he began to work as part of a team whose purpose was to beautify the city and created by the Cuban Cultural Foundation (FCBC), and in the same year he and other young artists formed a group called “Cara Joven” (Young Faces). Known by their nickname “Cara-jo,” this young group was destined to change the existing art scene by introducing innovative, contemporary ideas. It literally saturated all available gallery spaces with their creative art forms, expressing student concerns such as existentialism and ecological concerns.

For the 1992 Caribbean Festival, Pagán participated in a street installation called “Showcase Art,” sponsored by the Hermanos Saíz Association (AHS), in which the artists used store windows to create a powerful visual spectacle confronting passersby on Santiago de Cuba’s heavily frequented Enramadas Street.

His first one-man show, “My Double Face,” was mounted in 1995 with such success than he was asked to take it to Guantánamo and Granma provinces as well.

In the 1990s he received national awards in various exhibitions, including:

  • 30th of November show, Universal Art Gallery – prizes in 1994, 1995, 1997
  • City Show, Oriente Gallery – prizes in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
  • Small Format Show, Zaguán Gallery- prizes in 1997, 1998, 1999
  • Emilio Bacardí Room, Emilio Bacardí Museum – prize in 1998


He is also an outstanding cartoonist, and has participated in Cuban and international humor contests. In 1993 and 1996 he was awarded the National Aquelarre prize, as well as winning a prize at the Olense Kartoenale in Belgium in 1996. In 1998 and 1999 he put on one-man shows of cartoons called “The Other Face I and II.” He revived and improved upon the original design for the logo currently used for Cuban beer Hatuey.