Ernesto Milanés: Tireless Toiler
By Mercy Ramos, Photos: José Meriño
The day’s twenty four hours are not sufficient for renowned Cuban artist Ernesto Milanés Ruiz who asserts that he works twenty five. For this untiring sculptor, “work achieves everything.” In an exclusive interview with Cubaplus, Milanés talked extensively about his work as a sculptor and explained that his work in general is dedicated to the cigar because in his own words he’s “a hardened smoker.”
“I smoke at least fifteen cigars a day,” he says. It was because of this fondness for cigars that he once decided to create his own humidor and from that moment on, it proved to be one of his major inspirations. From then on, he began to dedicate himself entirely to the world of cigars.
He has spent the past nine years working in Mexico on an exclusive contract with the Carlos Mirache gallery where he displays his work. All his pieces are sold through the gallery and one cigar club that sells only pieces made by Milanés.
He has received many accolades in Mexico, including most recently “Doctor of Doctors” - the highest award offered to those who have received honorary doctorates in the country.
He also received a Mexican Golden Microphone for his international career as a painter and sculptor as well as specifically for his support for development in the arts in Mexico.
In the same year, he received the Amantes de Mexico (Friends of Mexico) prize awarded by the foundation of the same name. He was also named a member of the Mexican National Legion of Honour. This organization’s mission is to promote the continuing development of culture, science, the arts, knowledge and social civility in the daily lives of Mexicans for peace, as a fitting means to achieving the holistic development of human beings in Mexico and the world over.
Milanés confessed that he is always embroiled in new projects and that his best piece of work, for him, is always the next one he’ll make.
He is currently working on several pieces, one of which is a sculpture close to completion commemorating the well-known Cuban musician Juan Formell, founder and director of Los Van Van, who passed in May 2014.
“This piece,” said Milanés, “is a homage that I owe to someone who was a great friend of mine. I’m going to donate it to the Cuban Culture Ministry to be placed wherever it’s thought fitting, as a posthumous recognition of this great Cuban artist.
Finally Milanés described his plan for the future: “to keep working hard, because in life, work achieves everything.”