José Toirac and Meira Marrero are a husband and wife art duo living and working in Cuba. Toirac, born in 1966 in Guantánamo, Cuba is an artist has a background in painting and installation, while Marrero, born in 1969 in Havana, Cuba, has a background as an art critic and curator. In their work, Toirac and Marrero combine references to Cuban politics, history, and culture; much research goes into the artworks.
Marrero and Toirac’s installation, Ave Maria, features a long, horizontal board, which serves as a base for objects representing the Virgin of Charity that they obtained throughout Cuba and in the United States. Carved into the board is the following quote by José Martí: “Either the republic is based on the whole character of each one of its children...or the republic is not worth a single tear of our women nor a single drop of the blood of our brave men.” By juxtaposing various images of the Virgin of Charity with Martí’s words, Marrero and Toirac write, “The work becomes an altar to diversity and a prayer for the unity of the Cuban family, for racial and social equality.”