“Cuban design ? difficulties” is a simple and useful formula that could well be used to summarize the situation of this practice on the island. The promotional and support strategies which the Cuban revolution developed in many cultural sectors (such as popular music, ballet and others) were scant in connection with the design arts.
Daisy Valera’s Diary
Cuba’s first art exhibition and sale event, organized by the National Visual Arts Center and displaying the works of contemporary Cuban artists under the age of 35, began on November 1. (25 photos)
When any announcement in Cuba combines the words “international” and “festival” something resembling a switch is flipped on. A floodgate opens, the spores of a hallucinogenic fungus are scattered around the city and the cultured public of Havana grows feverish. It sets out, willing to endure long lines of people, flash theater passes and buy tickets.
The bar and cafeteria located at the intersection of Soledad and Concordia streets in Havana’s neighborhood of Centro Habana, an establishment that used to sell cheap tap beer and bother the neighbors with blaring reggaeton music in the early hours of the morning, looks rather different today.
You open the door to Havana’s Café Fortuna – nestled beyond a steep set of steps – to the chimes of little bronze bells shaped like pagodas. If it weren’t for the glass counter before you, you’d think you had mistakenly stumbled into the living room of some extravagant collector.
It’s been nearly a week since the congress of Cuba’s Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) ended, but Fidel Castro continues to stare at us from the red and green banners designed for the occasion. Cuban flags still hang, forsaken, from clotheslines and balconies, washed by the rains of the season.
With or without a new Press Law, Cuba must urgently do away with all forms of journalism that are explicitly propagandist in nature. The spaces occupied by censorship and self-censorship today must begin to be occupied by criticism and incisive questioning. Cuba needs a press that is not bound by the rules of the Party-State.
Manuel was an educated member of the working class, a mechanic employed by a preserves factory, a vanguard worker, the grandfather of one my best childhood friends, someone who had had the privilege of seeing Lenin’s embalmed body in person. He had the habit of starting most of his phrases with “if the Soviet Union still existed…”
Democracy in the Workplace is the title of a profoundly interesting documentary. Shot by Robert Purdy and Margot Smith in 1999, it follows the day-to-day operations of three California businesses managed by their employees: Inkworks, The Cheeseboard and Rainbow.
Surrealist Cuban writer Juan Brea’s collection of essays “La verdad contemporanea” (Contemporary Truth) ends with a series of reflections we could describe as intuitive or extravagant. “Man is the only animal capable of dying because of drunkenness or a kind gesture. This is what makes him different, not virtuous.”