In 1954, Lam was invited by Asger Jorn to participate in the International Meeting of Sculpture and Painting in Albissola Marina, an Italian seaside town renowned as a historic centre of ceramic production. After the Second World War, a number of international and politically idealistic artists had settled there or were regular visitors. Jorn himself was a founding member of CoBrA, an avant-garde group which rejected European high cultural tradition, and of the experimental Situationist International. Lam found Albissola and this liberal community of artists an appealing prospect and returned regularly, setting up a permanent studio there in 1962.

Surrounded by artists exploring new forms of abstraction, Lam was moved to experiment with large-scale expressionist painting. The abstract Brush series was an important but temporary deviation from his distinctive style. The title refers to the Cuban undergrowth, domain of the Orisha. Its explosion of energy coincided with news of the Cuban Revolution that would end the Batista dictatorship in January 1959.