Cuban Posters

With a small rebel army, Fidel Castro seizes power in Cuba by the end of 1958. Although he tries to take an independent line, he must deal with significant Russian influence on the new regime. The socialist realist posters from the early years attest to this influence.
Around 1965, in a period of strained relations with the Soviet Union, the Cubans decide to develop styles more suitable to their own circumstances. A period of artistic freedom follows. The arts flourish, and there are lively international contacts. Talented Cuban artists start designing colourful, inventive posters of traditional subjects such as commemorations of the revolution or calls for more production. The Cuban leaders are portayed as cheerful and unconventional. Especially striking are the splendid posters issued by cultural organizations such as the ICAIC, the Cuban film institute. OSPAAAL, the organization for solidarity with the people of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, distributes its posters worldwide. Che Guevara’s portrait is transformed into an international symbol for romantic rebellion.
Heroic, idealized portraits like this one are made only from Che Guevara, and only after his death. Fidel Castro and the other leaders are deliberately portrayed as ordinary human beings.
The Chairman Smiles – Cuban Posters