René Francisco is one of the most important contemporary Cuban artists. He attended the National School of Art and the Higher Institute of Art, graduating in 1987. In 1989 he became a teacher and was very popular due to his unorthodox methods. He has worked extensively for the cause of conceptual art and community development.
From 1986 to 1996 he formed the duo Ponjuán-René Francisco. His teamwork led in 1990 to the creation of the famous educational project “Desde una Pragmática Pedagóciga” (DUPP Gallery) for which he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco Art Institute as well as the UNESCO prize during the 8th Havana Biennial. With this methodology he taught at the BAK- Basis voor currente kunst in Utrecht, Burg Kunsthochschule Halle, the University of Zaragoza, Kit and Khi University Bergen, Escuela Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro, etc.
In 2007, at the Venice Biennale, René Francisco presented all the work he had carried out since 2003 in favor of “El Romerillo”, one of the slums of Havana. Having received a grant from a Berlin foundation, he decided to use it to help the inhabitants.
René Francisco has participated in numerous personal and collective exhibitions both in Cuba and in other countries, Biennials of Havana, Venice, São Paulo, Thessaloniki, Bogota, and Guatemala.
He has been invited to artistic residencies including the Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, the Hersliya Artist in Residence in Tel Aviv, Schloss Wiepersdorf in Germany, the Cuban Artist Found and MANA in New York and the Mattres Factory in Philadelphia.
In 2010, he received the National Prize for Plastic Arts in Cuba.