Drawing upon archival and interview material Part 1 of this extended paper describes the early life and work of the Cuban artist Antonia Eiríz Vásquez from 1951 to 1968. Eiríz’s artistic background, her influences and the political climate following the Revolution as it impacted upon her work are described. This material provides a background to her later involvement in community art as the founder of el arte popular (popular arts) which is described and developed in Part 2.In Part 2 reference to the broader history of the development of art therapy in Cuba is made and Eiríz positioned as a ‘forerunner’ of a particular strand of community based practice (Ben-David and Collins, 1966, p. 450). However, in Part 1, the focus rests on Antonia Eiríz Vásquez, the artist, and the events that paved the way to what was to come. In this manner I hope to demonstrate that her involvement with el arte popular (popular arts), as outlined in Part 2, was not a digression but rather an extension of her creative work which is what she herself always maintained
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