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Zarza studied drawing and painting from 1959 to 1963 at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes "San Alejandro" in Havana. He was a member of the Taller Experimental de Gráfica (TEG) at the Plaza de la Catedral in Havana from 1965 to 1996. In addition, he was juror in the Salón de Artes Plásticas UNEAC '82 at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana in Havana.
Among his must relevant exhibitions can be included in 1972 "Grabados y Dibujos" at the Galeria Viva in México as well as Caracas, Venezuela. In 1980, he exhibited "Grabados y Carteles de Rafael Zarza" at the Sala de Exposición, Centro Cultural Arabe, in Damascus, Syria. In 1995, he exhibited his works "Tauropatía. Zarza. Obra Gráfica" at the Galeria Espuela de Plata, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales in Havana. In 1998, he presented his works "30 años no son nada" (litografías 1967–1998) at the Galeria del Grabado, Taller Experimental de Gráfica (TEG), in Havana.
- Jose Veigas-Zamora, Cristina Vives Gutierrez, Adolfo V. Nodal, Valia Garzon, Dannys Montes de Oca; Memoria: Cuban Art of the 20th Century; (California/International Arts Foundation 2001); ISBN 978-0-917571-11-4
- Jose Viegas; Memoria: Artes Visuales Cubanas Del Siglo Xx; (California International Arts 2004); ISBN 978-0-917571-12-1 (in Spanish)