In cooperation with the DOX Centre, Czech photographer Iveta Kopicová presents a project focusing on contemporary Cuban art. The five artists that will be featured in the CUBA EN VIVO (Cuba Live) exhibition presents Cubans/artists that do not want to escape. They perceive their traumas, poverty, or political disappointment as a challenge for their art. In Cuba, patriotism can be much stronger than what we Czechs are familiar with... Yo soy Cubano (I’m Cuban) ... is a proud statement.
In recent years, Cuba has been undergoing significant transformation. Individual countries have been renewing relations with Cuba, but on the political front, nothing has changed there. In fear that the country is being sold off cheaply, people are running away. In 2015, the island saw the largest exodus of its population in the past decade. In Havana, art is a major social topic. There are many state-supported art studios, as well as a strong independent art scene that is fed by the need to differ, to get to the root of things, to reject compromise. Young people are especially full of energy and are looking for a way to freely express themselves regardless of commercial success.
To what degree will this energy change when confronted with Cuba’s hesitant opening up to the world? The current dialogue between the USA and the existing leadership is perhaps just a road to commercialism, and not to freedom. For a number of artists, these changes are just economic collaborationism, another case of submission, just of a different type. What connects the exhibiting artists is their need to differentiate themselves, both from the existing dictatorship and from creeping commercialization without any guarantee of personal freedoms.