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Demi and Arturo Rodríguez papers, circa 1957-2016

Biographical Note

Demi (1955- ) and Arturo Rodríguez (1956- ) are painters in Miami, Florida.
Demi was born in Camagüey, Cuba. In 1961, her father was executed by the Cuban government. Demi's mother struggled to take care of Demi and her sisters alone and Demi was sent to live with relatives in Puerto Rico in 1962. She came to the U.S. in 1971 where she was able to join her sisters and mother. Eventually Demi settled in Miami in 1978. She attended Miami-Dade College where she studied drama with the Prometeo Theater Group. In 1980, she met Arturo at one of his exhibitions. They married in 1984. Demi worked as a bookkeeper before she knew she could draw and paint. Her first attempts at creating art were in 1984 using a wedding photograph of herself and Arturo as her subject. Her first exhibition was in 1987 at the Cuban Museum in Miami. As she developed as an artist, children became the prime subjects in Demi's paintings. She was the recipient of the Florida State Visual Artist Grant for 1992 to 1993.
Arturo Rodríguez was born in Ranchuelo, Cuba, and showed an interest in art as a small child. Arturo and his family were exiled to Spain in 1971. While in Spain, his visits to see the paintings of Goya and Velázquez at the Prado Museum helped solidify his interest in art. Rodríguez settled in Miami with his family in 1973 where he eventually attended Miami Dade College. Arturo's works are often influenced by his relationship with Demi. In 1995, he created a series of collages using images of Demi as a way to deal with her cancer diagnosis. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Cintas Foundation Fellowship, Florida Arts Council Fellowships, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant.