Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The visual arts

While we await with bated breath for the official results of the Cuban parliamentary “elections”, here is some news of interest.

An exhibition has just opened at Rivington Place, a new gallery in London, featuring the works of about half a dozen Cuban visual artists – the first such exhibition in nearly a decade.

According to the exhibition notes, the aim of the exercise is to show how artists living and working in Fidel Castro's tropical paradise “discuss contradictions, ambiguities and social negotiations in Cuban life”.

One of the exhibits involves a video titled “Self-censorship”, in which artist Jeanette Chavez is filmed tying her tongue inside her closed lips.

Then there is the installation above – toilet rolls made out of pages from Granma, the official propaganda sheet of the Castro regime.

The artist, Wilfredo Prieto, titled his work “Speech”.

According to the curator of the exhibition, Gerardo Mosquera, Prieto had some difficulty getting official approval for his work from the regime’s cultural commissars, who decide what can and cannot be exhibited.

Mr Mosquera told the media that after much discussion, Prieto was told that he could only use pages from Granma that did not feature an image of Fidel Castro – a feat Mr Mosquera correctly describes as “near impossible”.


Blogger Lori said...

There is so much in that work of art, but there is also literal meaning.

Cubans use the newspaper exactly like that, as toilet paper. Regular toilet paper is a luxury for any Cuban.

1:47 am  
Anonymous No fool said...

Notice this art exhibit will be abroad, a long way from Cuba and its inhabitants. It would never have been allowed if it had been for domestic consumption. In London, however, it can be used to make the dictatorship look "tolerant" to naive or willfully blind foreigners.

7:09 am  

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