Residency Unlimited

Rafael Villares

Rafael Villares, "Terra ignota" installation view, 59th Venice Biennale, 2022.

Artist Name: Rafael Villares
Residency Dates: June – July 2023
Born: 1989
Hometown: Havana, Cuba
Lives & Works: Between Havana, Cuba & New Haven, USA
URL: | Instagram: @villaresrafael
Gallery: NG Art Gallery (Panama)
2022-2024 | MFA Yale University School of Art, CT, USA
2010-2015 | BVA Higher Institute of Art (ISA), Havana, Cuba
2005-2009 | National Fine Art Academy San Alejandro, Havana, Cuba
2003-2005 | Visual Art Experimental Center, Havana, Cuba


Rafael Villares is a Cuban-born contemporary artist who works across various media, including sculpture, installation, photography, drawing, and painting. Through researching the history of the Natural and Social Sciences, Villares’ practice centers around an exploration of landscape, and highlights the ways in which art and science intersect to shape and transform our understandings and perceptions of Nature. Villares often collaborates with scientists, researchers, and others across various disciplines to develop projects that challenge established ways of seeing. He is particularly interested in how art can provoke thoughtful insights into these processes by creating opportunities for individuals to enter and encounter manipulated realities, challenging people to replicate these experiences in their everyday lives.

Villares’ works are characterized by the inversion of familiar aspects of the surrounding environment from micro to macro scales. An example of this can be seen in the installation piece Itinerant Landscape which is comprised of a larger-than-life planter with a park bench and tree that can be moved from location to location by means of a truck and crane. On a more micro-scale, works such as Topographic Paradox involved the generation of bathymetric maps by melting blue ice replicas of places in danger of rising sea levels over large sheets of paper in collaboration with a surveyor. Each of these pieces invite the viewer to reconsider their understandings of space and their relationship to their local and global environments.

Villares represented Cuba at the 59th Venice Biennale and has exhibited extensively both in Cuba and internationally, including at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin, the Museo Nacional de Arte (MNA) in Bolivia, the Havana Biennial in Cuba, the Vancouver Biennial in Vancouver, Canada, and the Sixty-eight Art Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has also been an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center (USA) and at Casasola (Panama). His works can be found in permanent collections such as the Minneapolis Art Institute (MIA) in the USA, the Chazen Museum of Art in Wisconsin, USA, and the Jose Luis Cuevas Museum in Mexico.

Support: Rafael Villares’ residency is made possible with support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Cuban Artists Fund.


Related Posts


Realty Collective 

Young Visual Artists Award (YVAA)


Latest RU News in your inbox