Big names flock to Cuba’s first con­tem­po­rary art space

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Ha­vana, Cuba - For decades, Cubans have been used to the rev­o­lu­tion­ary slo­gan ‘ La lucha con­tinua’, or ‘the strug­gle goes on’.

Now the first ever in­ter­na­tional con­tem­po­rary art space on the Com­mu­nist-ruled is­land has been dubbed ‘ Arte Con­tinua,’ or ‘art goes on’, re­flect­ing the changes shap­ing Ha­vana.

The con­cept, orig­i­nally from Italy, brings lead­ing con­tem­po­rary artists to an is­land that has been un­der one-party rule for more than half a cen­tury.

It is an off­shoot of a project called ‘Gal­le­ria Con­tinua’ which started when Ital­ians Mario Cris­tiani, Lorenzo Fi­aschi and Mau­r­izio Rig­illo had the idea of set­ting up con­tem­po­rary art spa­ces in the most un­likely places, start­ing in 1990 in the me­dieval Ital­ian vil­lage of San Gimignano.

They scored a no­table coup when they in­stalled a gallery in China in 2005.

The Ha­vana space in­cludes work from big names in­clud­ing Michelan­gelo Pis­to­letto, Daniel Buren of France, Bri­tish-In­dian artist Anish Kapoor, In­dia's Shilpa Gupta and the late Greek-Ital­ian artist Jan­nis Kounel­lis.

Fi­aschi says he had the idea of in­stalling an art ex­hibit space in Cuba dur­ing a visit in 2014, when he stum­bled upon the ru­ined shell of a 1950s cin­ema in the old Chi­nese quar­ter of Ha­vana.

Work­ing with the Cuban au­thor­i­ties, he trans­formed the space and bap­tized it ‘ Arte Con­tinua’ to sig­nify that un­like its pre­de­ces­sors, this was not an ac­tual gallery but more in line with Cuba's cul­tural cen­tres.

As well as sculp­tures, the space will fea­ture mu­si­cal events, dance, the­atre and pho­to­graphic and ar­chi­tec­tural ex­hibits.

“We are the first non-Cuban ex­hi­bi­tion space in Cuba,” said Luisa Ausenda, one of the or­gan­is­ers of ‘ Arte Con­tinua’, boast­ing of the project’s pi­o­neer­ing, non-profit role.

Un­der a deal with the Com­mu­nist au­thor­i­ties, the pieces on dis­play will not be for sale.


Luisa Ausenda, direc­tor of Arte Con­tinua gallery ob­serves an art­work in Ha­vana

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