Art frenzy takes over Havana as biennial kicks off
Updated : April 15, 2019 09:46 AM IST
Cones of white paper sprout from the sea salt-eroded pillars of one colonial building along Havana's seafront, elaborately painted curtains cascade from another while out front children play with installation of multicoloured hoses.
Havana's 13th Biennial kicked off this weekend with works by more than 300 contemporary artists from 52 countries taking over the city's museums, galleries and open-air spaces, and many more collateral exhibits.
"They turned my home into an artwork," said Silvia Perez, smiling at the paper sprouting from the colonnade of her home, a piece by Cuban artist Elio Jesús Fonseca. "The artist said it meant peace."
The transformation of the Malecon seafront boulevard into an open-air, interactive gallery, has become one of the most popular venues of Cuba's most important art event.
Along the sidewalk, this year are smooth boulders encased in volcanic slabs by Mexican artist Jose Davila, while a swirling light installation by Peruvian artist Grimanesa Amoros protrudes from a building.
Cuba's Communist government, which has heavily promoted the arts since the country's 1959 leftist revolution, created the Havana Biennial in 1984 to promote artists from the developing world, especially Cuban ones.
This year, 80 Cubans will exhibit their work, including a performance on Monday by Manuel Mendive, considered the Caribbean island's top living artist.
Still, it also includes a large contingent of European and US artists including Cuban-Americans like Enrique Martínez Celaya and Emilio Perez.