Havana, Feb 4. – With his unique work, Janio Nunez Leal, the artist that turns tobacco leaves into sculptures, has pieces in many private collections around the work.
Nunez, who used to be a torcedor (cigar twister) for different cigar factories, first cherished the idea and took the steps for becoming a tobacco sculptor in 1994.
Now, on occasion of the 14th Habano Cigar Festival, to be held on February 27-March 2, the development of this artist arouses great interest.
The recent opening of his studio-workshop in Boca Ciega beach (eastern Havana) adds a tourist touch to his trade, as the place is visited by many people who want to know more about Cuban culture and tobacco.
In 2000, Nunez had the chance to cater for Celia Sandy, the granddaughter of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, known for his love for Cuban cigars to the point that a vitola currently bears his name.
On that occasion, he exhibited a life size sculpture of Churchill.
In 1998 he exhibited a first collection, titled The Tobacco and its Origins, at Cuba Trade Fair FIHAV and, as he said, he felt encouraged to follow an artistic path.
He explained that his sculptures are made only of tobacco leaves, using only the artist´s idea without any mold or frame.
His pieces must be well preserved at 18-24 degrees C. and a relative humidity of 60-70 percent, including spraying to certify each piece from the fitosanitary point of view.
Private collectors in Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, Britain, Luxembourg, Guadeloupe and Martinica have life size or miniature tobacco sculptures of Churchill, Cuban musician Compay Segundo, emblematic guerrilla Che Guevara, John F. Kennedy, Charles Chaplin, Luciano Pavarotti, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jack Nicholson, made by Nunez.
His works have been exhibited in FIHAV, the Habano Cigar Festival and the Melia Cohiba Hotel, in Cuba.
They have also been displayed in agricultural fairs in London or in the Chocolate Museum of Belgium, always as a warmly welcomed innovation to represent tradition and Habano cigars.(Prensa Latina)