August 2011        

Art

Cuba on the graphic arts map


Mention Cuban culture and one can be forgiven for immediately thinking of the rich tradition of Cuban music: jazz, son, salsa, rumba, and so on. It may come as a surprise to some that there exists a vibrant visual arts scene in Cuba, which goes beyond Jim Fitzpatrick’s iconic graphical interpretation of Guevara from Korda’s photograph.
     Having said that, it was the graphic arts in the form of the dynamic silkscreen posters of the 1960s produced to promote films, political and public health campaigns that put Cuba on the visual arts map.
     In 1984 the Havana Biennial Art Exhibition was founded—long before the trend for biennials was set in the 90s. The exhibition initially showcased work from Caribbean and Latin American artists only. However, in 1986 this was extended to include artists from Asia and Africa. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the biennial, in 2009, works from western artists were included for the first time.
■ For further information, available in English, see www.bienalhabana.cult.cu, www.cuba50.org/index.php, and www.havana-cultura.com/INT/EN/cultura.html#/385.

Shown here [see the printed edition of Socialist Voice] is some of the work of the Cuban artist and cartoonist Adán Iglesias Toledo. Born in 1965 and resident in Havana, Adán graduated from the Enrique José Varona Higher Pedagogical Institute, specialising in arts education. He is now editorial cartoonist of the Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde and director of the supplement Dedeté Humor. His work has been exhibited both in Cuba and internationally, and he has participated as a guest artist with the French newspaper L’Humanité. He has lectured both in Cuba and Latin America on humour and is a member of the Union of Journalists of Cuba (UPEC) and the National Union of Artists and Writers of Cuba (UNEAC), where he directs the humour section. He is the editor of a book on political humour, Humor Rebelde, which was presented at the Havana Book Fair in 2010.
■ You can see more of Adán’s work at www.toonpool.com/artists/adancartoons_5449, www.juventudrebelde.co.cu, and www.dedete.cu.
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