Yaimel López is the artist who created VLAFF’s 2020 poster image. Yaimel moved from Havana, Cuba in 2019 to make Vancouver his new home.

¡Hola Yaimel!

What inspired the image?

The image comes from and represents the mixture of Latin culture, the diversity that characterizes it and the very organic way in which all these singularities are integrated into a vast idiosyncrasy. Different languages, skin colours, musical rhythms, vegetation, climates and customs do not escape the common factor that is our continental history, which unites us all, “… from the Rio Grande to Patagonia …” as José Martí would say and that makes Latin America our great house.

What are your impressions of the graphic arts world in Vancouver as compared to in Havana?

Totally distinct. The graphic arts scene in Vancouver is mediated by the commercial factor, and that influences the way in which creators develop their themes. Also, I think that nature as an inspiration is always present, I would dare to say that it is the most recurring theme.

In the case of Havana, most of the visible graphic production is associated with culture. This frees creators a lot when developing their proposals. In addition, the human being in general is the topic most used by artists in their work, and this combined with a tremendous need to provoke thought and challenge through their art, is a factor that from my point of view is almost impossible to find in Vancouver.

How have Canadians received your work so far?

I must say that it has not been bad so far. Definitely the cultural references with which I work, sometimes unconsciously, are a determining factor for which many see my work as something extremely deep, visceral and even dark. But that is not something that bothers me, not at all, in fact, just the opposite; I believe that art has a greater power of communication and conveyance the more unsettling that it is.

As a new immigrant, what do you consider could be your contribution to the graphic arts world in Vancouver and Canada?

Certainly, by the way I see reality as a new immigrant and Latino in Canada. Although honestly, I feel that it is Canada that is radically influencing my work. I feel an urgent need to connect with other artists with my proposals, and I practically go out in the streets in search of it, something that I did not have to do in Cuba because it came naturally.