A sculptor and performer artist, Daldo Marte’s art delves into the figure of the superheroes, both imagined and originated from American and Japanese popular culture, such as Hulk, Captain America, and Grendizer. Marte worked this theme over and over as a way to approach their special powers, suggest their protective and exemplary nature, and address the pressing needs of today’s world by exploring the limits of human condition.
Marte’s creative endeavor sparked at age ten, during Cuba’s Período especial (“The Special Period in Time of Peace”) of the 1990s, a time of economic struggle for many, when he discovered bicycle rubber inner tubes. He quickly mastered this material and started designing robot sculptures inspired by figurine toys that other kids could afford. This activity evolved, until today, in a multitude of series—warriors, robots, superheroes, super animals. At age 19, taking a step further, he began to create superhero costumes; he would wear them and perform in public spaces of Havana, improvising patterns of movements similar to katas and chanting political phrases heard on the tv and radio. Armors, masks, helmets, hand devices, weapons, and shields are crafted from discarded objects, such as plastic, leather, rubber, cardboard, and textile. They are meticulously assembled and, over time, embellished with other found materials—like bottle caps—until they become too damaged to be worn again. Veiling Marte’s reserved personality, these accessories allow him to embody the extraordinary talents and various identities of his characters, while engaging with people.
Photographs by Paula Pietrini, Frederic Di Meo, Rosmy Porter, Miguel Armando Sánchez Sánchez, and Carlos Alberto Alonso Machin
Daldo Marte performing in superhero attire in the streets of Cuba
Courtesy Rosmy Porter