Art And Culture

Native Cuban Paintings Draw Attention

Native Cuban Paintings Draw AttentionNative Cuban Paintings Draw Attention

An interest in all things Cuban is extending to paintings and sculpture, with US art collectors and dealers descending on Havana for a month-long (May 22-June 22) exhibition amid expectations that art prices will rise because of the detente between the former Cold War rivals.

Most of the attention however is on the works of native-born artists, especially for the legions of foreign collectors and dealers who have been filling hotels and restaurants in recent days.

More than 300 artists and curators from 45 countries are attending the XII Havana Biennial, the largest event of visual arts in the Cuban capital, with streets and squares becoming a showcase of works of all disciplines.

In order to take art to the streets and not remain within the classic venues, foreign artists traveled several times to Havana to become familiar with the spaces and create “living “ and “organic” works that have a dialogue with the people and blend naturally in the environment, reports

The event is taking place at a historic moment in US-Cuba relations. In December, President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro announced that they would move toward restoring diplomatic relations that broke off in 1961, reports AP.

Cuban officials say the number of US visitors is up by more than 30% and that is carrying over into the biennial, said Alberto Magnan, a Cuban-American gallery owner from New York who represents artists taking part.

“The synergy is better than I’ve seen in any of the biennials,” said Magnan, who attended five of the previous exhibitions. Times are changing and I believe that with the new Obama policy it’s changing faster than we think.”

“You’re getting a lot of collectors who are running to Cuba to buy art,” Howard Farber, a resident of New York and Miami Beach whose foundation publishes the online Cuban Art News magazine said. “It’s the biggest opportunity for an art collector to start a collection.”

More than 1,200 people have formally signed up to participate in the events, said Jorge Fernandez, one of the organizers. There are at least 1,000 more who will take part in workshops and other events without bothering to get accredited, he said.