The work of José Toirac is defined by its ability to observe and dismantle historical and political processes. His references, therefore, are always essential characters of politics and history, through which he relates the universal, to the reality that surrounds him. His intention is to show the zones of the silence of the official history, the truth that always hides behind the power. 

His work is strongly censured by the authorities in Cuba. Part of his creative process is to use images from the public domain (magazines and official newspapers), because once they are published, supposedly they passed the censorship of the State. His work travels along the line that separates politics from reality, exposing that intermediate zone where manipulation mechanisms are visible.


Jose Angel Toirac was born in Guantanamo, Cuba in 1966. He attended the 23 y 12 Elemental School of Art, the San Alejandro Academy and the Superior Institute of Art, all in Havana, Cuba. Toirac’s work has been included in many landmark exhibitions and has exhibited extensively in several countries, both individually and as part of collective exhibitions.

His pieces can be found in collections such as the National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City; the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain; the Arizona State University Art Museum (ASU) , Tempe, Arizona; the Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany; the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, Florida; The Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, Rhode Island; the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California; the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; and the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Québec, Canada, among others.

Toirac often seeks inspiration in the past as a way to bring home his point referencing a present situation. He frequently includes the use of documents and images, both historical and artistic, mostly but not exclusively, from Cuban national records and archives. He brings out fragments of history that can be subject to revision, and by deconstructing it he confronts its official ‘reading’ in a subtle way, presenting the facts under a new light. He is very interested in the way that history has been manipulated to reinforce a given idea. His main source of inspiration, which is his country’s political history, is endless, mostly due to the manipulative use of history by the state. He is constantly questioning the way that collective memory is ‘constructed’ by fabricating ‘supporting evidence’ such as photos, to ‘facts’ or by hiding information. The artist points out how the history of Cuba during these last decades would be rewritten once the political order changes and many ‘new’ historical facts surface. Toirac received the National Prize of the Plastic Arts for the Work of a lifetime.


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