Cuban Artist Michel Mirabal on Attending Embassy Ceremony: 'It's an Honor'

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By Sandra Lilley

HAVANA, CUBA — Acclaimed Cuban painter Michel Mirabal, known for his thought-provoking paintings of flags — sometimes made with flowers and barbed wires — will be one of the guests of Secretary of State John Kerry at a reception following the flag raising ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Havana on Friday.

"It's an honor for me," Mirabal told NBC News. "I don't deserve, but if you invite me, I go there. I'm going to be there because it's a historic moment in our life."

Mirabal told NBC News he first made a combination of the U.S. and Cuban flag several years ago when he felt there was a lot of confrontation between the two countries.

"I have in my mind a hope that once the two flags are in the same place," he said.

The artist, whose paintings have been bought by diverse collectors such as Quincy Jones, Donald Trump, Muhammad Ali and Carlos Santana, said he thought "the people from the U.S., the government of the U.S. and the government of Cuba need to work, really work. They have to take off the mask."