Zilia Sánchez


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Soy Isla

Vesela Sretenovic; With essays by Ingrid W. Elliott, Abigail McEwen, Carla Acevedo-Yates, Mercedes Cortázar, and a contribution by Alyson Cluck

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A beautifully produced, comprehensive look at Cuban artist Zilia Sánchez that traces her alluring and evocative paintings and sculpture from the 1950s to today

Cuban artist Zilia Sánchez (b. 1926) often says, “Soy isla” (“I am an island”), expressing her desire for solitary, uncompromising practice. It also serves as a metaphor for her experience as an islander—connected to and disconnected from both the mainland and mainstream art currents, such as concretism, gestural abstraction, and minimalism. Characterized by reductive forms, clean lines, and sensuous curves suggestive of the female body, Sánchez’s work frequently references protagonists from ancient mythology and lunar motifs while embracing ambiguity. This groundbreaking volume examines her paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and graphic illustrations together with archival ephemera. It traces Sánchez’s artistic journey from her early years in Cuba through her travels in Europe and residence in New York in the 1960s to her move to Puerto Rico, where she still lives and works. With spectacular illustrations of more than 75 artworks, insightful essays situating Sánchez within the context of global modernism, and a conversation with the artist, this is the most comprehensive publication on Sánchez’s art to date.

Published in association with The Phillips Collection

Exhibition Schedule:

The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico

El Museo del Barrio, New York

Vesela Sretenovic is senior curator of modern and contemporary art at The Phillips Collection.


The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico

El Museo del Barrio, New York

“I can think of no better creative haven than time spent with the biomorphic, beguiling, and unabashedly sensual work of Zilia Sánchez.”—Jillian Steinhauer, New York Times
ISBN: 9780300233902
Publication Date: February 19, 2019
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Phillips Collection
200 pages, 9 1/2 x 10
195 color illus.
Revolutionary Horizons

Art and Polemics in 1950s Cuba

Abigail McEwen

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