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"Elena de la Maza"
Survey of Contemporary Cuban Artists

Photo of Elena MazaElena Maza was born in Havana, Cuba, and in 1961, at the age of thirteen, came to the United States as a result of Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution first public declaration of its Communist goals.

Maza and her sister were but two of the several thousand Cuban children who were then separated from their families in the Church-sponsored operation known as the "Peter Pan Flights." The flights were a mission similar to the Kindertransport of World War II and the only political exodus ever of unaccompanied children in the Western Hemisphere. That year, more than 14,000 Cuban children, unaccompanied by their parents, were airlifted to the United States in this now controversial effort to provide an opportunity for a better life.

Maza then lived in New Mexico with a foster family for a year until her own family was finally able to leave Cuba. A resident of the Washington area since then, she studied architecture at Catholic University, where she gained her first exposure to the local arts scene working with a group of students at Walter Hopps’ Washington Gallery of Modern Art.

She started painting in 1970 while working as an architectural draftswoman and designer, and studied later at the Corcoran School of Art. Her paintings have been exhibited nationally in juried and invitational shows. She has received a number of awards, including an individual artist grant from Montgomery County, and has been curator for art exhibitions in the Greater Washington region and in Delaware, where her curated exhibition, “Collage of Cultures: Many Visions One Community,” received a Governor’s award.

She is a past President of the Women’s Caucus for Art of Greater Washington, and of The Cuban American Cultural Society of Washington. A book about Maza’s life, Embracing America: A Cuban Exile Comes of Age, by Margaret Paris, was published by the University Press of Florida in December 2002.

This exhibition showcased Elena Maza's work in the Washington region in the context of Cuban art. Her original artwork is available through the Fraser Gallery of Washington, DC and Bethesda, Maryland.