Leonel Oliva story’s is one of entrepreneurship and perseverance. With more than three decades of experience in the trade of restoration and creation of lights, this lord of the lamps, as many people know him, has carried out an important artistic and heritage work that today has become an economically sustainable small private enterprise.
With a suggestive and well-thought-out identity and image, in 2010 he developed Mi Doble L, Lámparas Leonel (My Double L, Leonel Lamps), his project of construction and general repair of lamps and decorative accessories. The initiative, part of his Art and Light work, is linked to several of his personal exhibitions, where he uses lamps and other implements in modeling performances.
Leonel doesn’t remember how, when and which was the first of the wonderful lights that got to him. He can create a genuine work of art from a piece of junk, an old piece of metal waste. His personal exhibitions are the result of his ingenuity and talent. He creates his works based on a criterion of evaluation of diverse metal, glass and textile elements. Each piece is the result of a prior study that entails a composition, functional and aesthetically valid to embellish tables, floors, ceilings or walls, and modulate atmospheres. The works are proof of his overflowing creativity. In the attractive and original amalgam of compositions he achieves is the imprint of his skill, intelligence and good taste.
In each work, the old structures come to life, fused with the discourse of modernity. He rescues and recycles disused pieces and objects and turns them into sources of light based on diverse designs and styles.
The artist mainly creates and restores lamps, but also accessories like: candlesticks, candelabras, oil lamps, braziers, lamp shades, table decorations, trestles for tables, fruit bowls. He assumes varied projects, all of them related to lights and their different uses.
Films, video clips, diplomatic missions, the homes of businesspeople and renowned personalities, regular TV programs and soap operas, famous restaurants, hotels and hostels, state-run as well as private, are decorated with Leonel’s works.
I asked him about the secret behind his success. He smiles when he answers: “daily work and the team’s constant dedication, the search for the balance between excellence, imagination and variety, respect for the clients and the desire to always present the best of our work.”
Leonel, a teacher by profession, currently works as a decorator in the Havana People’s Power Investment Enterprise. Since 2009 he has formed part of the Cuban Association of Craftspeople and Artists.
Calle 25 no. 956 entre Paseo y 2. El Vedado, Havana, Cuba