As Cuban authorities continue to target artist Tania Bruguera, Pablo Helguera publishes, for the first time, his 2015 essay on Bruguera’s attempt to stage a public performance on free speech.
“We must use the right definitions: KIDNAPPING,” said Deborah Bruguera, the artist-activist’s sister.
Following the death of Yosvany Arostegui in police custody, the Cuban artist asked people to record themselves reading the names of 102 current political prisoners out loud.
Bruguera was arrested in her home under pretenses of “pandemic contagion,” preventing her from attending a demonstration against the killing of Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano.
The letter, signed by 10 artists participating in the triennial, called the decision to close the exhibition After ‘Freedom of Expression?’ an “unacceptable act of censorship.”
This show is different from many of the previous at the 8th Floor gallery precisely because it is so intertwined with the theme of voices and their sounds.
I am not going to the 13th Havana Biennial because my struggle to achieve freedom of expression in Cuba, my defense of cultural rights, and my efforts to end political hatred among Cubans and defend the right to demonstrate in the streets are not limited to an event. It is my life mission.
After months of protesting against Decree 349, a proposed government sanction that would censor the arts, Bruguera will take legal action “against parties who have damaged myself and my family, psychologically, socially and professionally.” Lawyers say it is the first legal case of its kind.
Numerous Cuban artist-activists were detained for protesting Decree 349, but have been released as the law is reassessed. Cuban Vice Minister of Culture Fernando Rojas tells the Associated Press that more precise regulations will be published in upcoming days, but that “artistic creation is not the target.”
Cuban artists were arrested after planning a sit-in at the Cuban Ministry of Culture to protest Decree 349, which puts in place unprecedented censorship of the arts and will take effect December 7.
Bruguera, who has spent time detained in Cuba for her political outspokenness, organized the intervention at the Tate Modern as part of her 10,143,210 exhibition responding to the international refugee crisis.
This year, Palermo, Italy is hosting the nomadic European art biennale Manifesta, which aims to address the city’s ongoing migrant crisis — but is the art on view enough to foment actual social and political change?