HAVANA._ Artists from more than 40 countries have transformed spaces of the Cuban capital through art, as part of the 12th edition of the Art Biennial taking place in Havana until June 22, a real feast of visual arts.
As usual, the event has allowed artists from different regions to exchange viewpoints on their work and, according to its director Jorge Fernández, it remains loyal to the principle of giving voice to those who sometimes go unnoticed in their home countries.
The biennial exhibition has no specific headquarters as it is simultaneously held at different spots in Havana in order for the artists to create in function of the place and urban context.
The main idea is to turn Havana into the world’s largest gallery for one whole month, while also making efforts to improve the environment in many neighbourhoods and thus the life of their residents.
According to Fernández, the idea people have of art tends to be different to the artist’s true experience, so this 12th edition encourages reflecting on this issue with the motto “Between Idea and Experience.”
One of the event’s main objectives this year is to present the processes of making art in the 21st century, which is characterized by the joint work of scientists, musicians, architects, dancers, photographers, filmmakers, and professionals from different specialties.
Artistic manifestations such as dance, music, theater, film and literature go hand-in-hand in this the event; everyone contributes their semantic richness but departs from the relations among them.
“The city’s energy is important to us,” said Fernández at the opening of the event, and called to have the communities involved in the projects and turn them into social spaces.
Movie-theaters, parks, plazas, museums, libraries, public buildings, street corners are holding structures of different-sizes in an attempt to stimulate a dialogue between art and habitat.
The number of public spaces whose appearance has been transformed includes the National Bus Terminal, the Pabellón Cuba exhibition site, the Hershey Train Station, the former bicycle factory in Vedado, the University of Havana and some sections of the Malecon.
Something that has characterized the biennial event since the beginning is the intention of going far beyond classical art to encourage social reinsertion, added Fernández.
The famous Malecon serves as exhibition site for more than 50 projects, featuring the construction of an artificial skating rink, an initiative by U.S. artist Duke Riley.
The largest exhibition is entitled Dutyfree Zone and is on display at the Morro-Cabaña cultural complex, while the Pabellón Cuba exhibition site hosts the project “Entre, dentro, fuera” (Between, Inside, Outside), which involves artists from the United States, Bulgaria, Canada, and Cuba.
The Wilfredo Lam Contemporary Art Center, Cuba’s Photographic Library, and
the Visual Arts Development Center are once more serving as important venues for the multiple proposals made by some 3,000 Cuban and foreign artists.