The ceramic of Martha Jimenez. Repercussion in the contemporaneity and the future.

...the work of Martha Jimenez, which has led to the universe of its figures more than the form, the spirit of popular traditions and the work of the people of Cuba...

Eusebio Leal Spengler

Martha Petrona Jimenez Perez is currently one of the most notorious potters in the Cuban island scene, from her breakthroughs in the artistic dynamics of the last decades of the twentieth century. The success lies in the immeasurable providences that she takes when it comes to making, contextualizing and communicating a discourse with autochthonous, precursor and daringly revolutionary airs. This implies the gestures that come together in the forms, supports, and ideas that combine the concept of what is recognized as a work of creation and recreation, fully admirable, enjoyable, substantially valuable and imperishable.

The moment of the consecration of Martha Jimenez, in her work with ceramics in small format, arrived long before being worthy of the UNESCO Prize, granted in the International Fair of Handicrafts (FIART) of the year 1997, event that raised her as an artist of vanguard, of international importance. With a set of six pieces she defined her own style within the currents of "costumbrismo" and showed the strengthening of the work with the terracotta, endowed with an assent invoice and intrinsic Cubanness.

The scope of the value of the work of this artist from Camaguey does not strictly follow the empathy achieved with her recipients; in the same way, the specialized critic has reaffirmed the top position that Martha Jimenez's work has today, an example of this is the assessment given by the journalist, art critic and curator Toni Pinera, who affirmed that this creative extracts the gods from the clay in Camaguey.

She participated in FIART, in the edition corresponding to 1999, where she prevailed a work of successful curatorship, in which Martha's artistic ceramics had the responsibility of giving prestige to the contest. A set of pieces, among which was "Holy water", received by its significance the most eminent laurel, given to the masterly work in terracotta. From that same year, this piece integrated the Art Collection of Our America Haydee Santamaría of the Casa de las Americas.

To the achievements of this period was added another recognition: the inclusion of her work in the Cuban Handicrafts Catalog of the Cuban Fund of Cultural Goods. An exhibition of painting and ceramics that the artist made in the Dominican Republic, as a result of a residency or creative scholarship she developed in this country, was rated as incalculable success.Three representatives from different nations were chosen for this exhibition in 2009: Jean Pierre Frey from France, the American Esperanza Cortes, and from Cuba, Martha Jimenez, who applied the removal of their distinctive intensity in the debut of a heterogeneous exhibition, cataloged by the critics of "true contribution and value" for the Altos de Chavon Cultural Center Foundation, institution that hosted the creative process.

Another event of great significance took place in 2010 in the career of the artist, when one of her attractive vessels was awarded at the Second Biennial and International Exhibition of Contemporary Art Teapots, in Shanghai, China. Due to the sagacity, the talent and the passion for modeling, today, the work of Martha Jimenez distinguishes public spaces of the Eskisehir cities in Turkey, and Camagüey in Cuba, where monumental sculptures of her authorship are exhibited proudly as an open-air gallery. In the Asian country, in 2011, the Cuban artist was the only one from Latin America to exhibit at the 5th. Symposium of Sculpture, occasion in which she was awarded, for a work of ceramics and metal, belonging to the series Jineta.

In the case of Camaguey, it is due to her the joy of having the Plaza del Carmen, an area that identifies the city and houses a sculptural group born of the artist's small pieces of clay, immortalized in bronze, after being projected on a large scale in marble.

In this sense, it is valid to mention the animation of two projects that from different perspectives pay tribute to the development of local crafts, both located in this distinguished plaza at Camaguey. This is the case of Carmen, a space created to complement the relationship, from the promotion and marketing of souvenirs, between the square that bears this name and the work of Martha Jimenez. And the workshop of creation Brush with soul of kiss, led by the ceramist, that has among its priorities to promote in children the practice of clay modeling.

The Studio-Workshop Martha Jimenez, located nearby, not only facilitates dialogue with the artist's personal collection, but has become a source of documentation, research and development of crafts, culture and art, through workshops, conferences and visits aimed at collectors and other competitors, with the purpose of providing expanded information about the creative and her work.

But the spirit of Martha Jimenez remains uneasy; her artistic history increases as her ingenious pieces continue to gain prominence. In this way she sealed the year 2016 with the reception, on December 9, of the First Prize in the Amelia Pelaez Ceramic Biennial of installations and projects, of Havana, with her work "Equilibrist", moment that reaffirmed that by mentioning this tireless maker, not only as an artist that is recognized today, and whose name will resonate in future times.

Author: Yaniel Perez Guerra
Galerist, Curator and Specialist in Visual Arts.
Taken from Pauta Magazine, Number 4, Year 3, 2017.