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The Tenth Biennial of Visual Arts


Havana Becomes
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The Biennial [Festival], organized by the Wilfredo Lam Center of Contemporary Art and the Ministry of Culture, has included an extensive schedule of exhibits. Some 300 artists from 54 countries are participating. The public flooded the entrance doors to the Museum of Fine Arts to feast their eyes on the fresh art coming from New York.

Punto de encuentro [Point of Rendezvous], one of the collective projects arranged by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva (Kcho), opened last Monday at the Convent of St. Francis of Assisi, in the Historical Center of Old Havana.

The square also hosted a pyrotechnical show by Chinese artist Cai Guo Quiang, famous for being the mastermind behind the fireworks at the opening ceremony of the last Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.

The exhibit includes pieces and works by Kcho, Tomás Sánchez (Cuba), Peter Nadin (Great Britain-US), Mariana Bunimov (Venezuela), Tatsuo Miyajima (Japan), Shirit Neshat (Iran), Patricia Gerber (Brazil), Jane Alexander (South Africa), Shoja Azari (Iran-US), Flaminio Jallageas (Brazil), Patrick Tutofuoco (Italy), the AES+F Group (Russia) and Cubans Luis Gómez, Edgar Echevarría and Yoan Capote.

Cuba’s capital is a large gallery since the opening ceremony of the 10th Biennial Festival, six days ago, the largest gathering of international art in Cuba. The official welcome to the 300 artists from 54 countries was given by Rubén del Valle Lantarón, President of the National Council of Fine Arts, at the historical site of Morro-Cabaña Park, a compound of colonial fortresses and one of the largest exhibit grounds of this event.

The Biennial [Festival], organized by the Wilfredo Lam Center of Contemporary Art and the Ministry of Culture, has included an extensive schedule of exhibits. All urban actions, theoretical and creative workshops, as well as the international and national exhibits, reveal their commitment to the event’s main theme: Integration and Resistance in the Global Age. Here are proposals inundating the city’s museums, galleries and streets and the studios of several artists.

The 130 side exhibits in the event were opened at a gala in the National Museum of Fine Arts. Four exhibits by important Cuban artists drew the public: Supervivencia [Survival], by Roberto Fabelo; Lost Luggage, by Esterio Segura; La enmienda que hay en mí [The Amendment in Me], by Carlos Garaicoa; and Resistencia y libertad [Resistance and Freedom], comprising works by Cuban maestros Wilfredo Lam, Raúl Martínez and José Bedía.

The exhibit Chelsea visita La Habana [Chelsea Visits Havana] was one of the greatest attractions. The public flooded the entrance doors to the Museum of Fine Arts to appreciate the fresh art arriving from New York, an atypical and high-quality exhibit by the artists behind it. Its main curators, Albert Magnan and Dara Metz, are confident that this will be the first step down a long road of artistic exchange between the US and Cuba.

Also opened was another collective project that has drawn a great deal of attraction at the event. Tales from the New World, by Humberto Díaz, fills [the] Vedado [neighborhood] with good art. He has been assisted by Stan Douglas, one of the most renowned Canadian artists at present.

Most pieces presented in the exhibition venues deal with economic topics, historiography, identity and the different landscapes and phenomena of globalization, communication and current technological development. Common concerns and conflicts in regions as far-flung as Australia, Africa and Latin America, the continents that are most represented in this edition.

Art is to blame for the continuous coming and going of artists, critics, dealers, gallery owners, art students, aficionados and common people who want to take part in this celebration. Works and pieces in all formats and with a myriad of esthetic and formal conceptions extend an invitation to compare the paths of contemporary art and meditate on international issues.

All throughout the week, the theoretical side of the event will be in session with papers by leading art specialists and thinkers, such as French Nicolas Bourriaud, Chilean Nelly Richard, Spanish José Luis Brea and Francisco Jarauta and American Steven C. Dubin.