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Soto, Leandro | Collaborative Archive from the African Diaspora

Name: Soto, Leandro

Historical Note:

Born in Cienfuegos, Cuba in 1956, avante garde artist Leandro Soto has participated in more than 200 exhibitions and performances at both national and international levels. Majoring in painting and minoring in graphics, he received his degree in Fine Arts from the National School of Art in Havana. In 1982 he obtained a teaching certificate at the Graduate Art Institute at the University of Havana.

Soto formed part of the “Volumen Uno” art movement in Havana in 1981 and was the first performance-installation artist in Cuba. Along with artists such as José Bedia and Carlos Cárdenas, he is considered part of Cuba’s “1980 generation” of artists. In 1988 he moved to Mexico, where he established the interdisciplinary art school El Tesoro de Tamulté for indigenous children of the Maya-Chontal community.

Throughout his artistic career, he has demonstrated an interest in religion, ritual, and the mythology of indigenous people. Along with his installations and performance art, Soto has designed sets and costumes for theater productions.

From Mexico, Soto went into exile in the United States, teaching at various universities and advising theater groups. He is well known as part of the interdisciplinary and multicultural Latino art movement. Currently, he is a Senior Lecturer and Artist in Residence at Arizona State University, West Campus, in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance Department.

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