Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dausell Valdés & Juan Cruz: Artists profiting from Castro´s communism

Fidel Castro by Dausell Valdés

"Ceila" by Dausell Valdés
Since the Bay of Pigs, two Cubas dominate--the island and the exiled nation.

While some Cuban artists disparage Castro´s regime, others become regime-friendly or apolitical, taking a higher, neutral ground.

Cubans from both domains continue espousing Cuban cultural and vibrant artistic traditions.

Most artists, except those in one of Castro´s prisons or otherwise intimidated into submission, appear to sustain themselves and some thrive, taking to the world stage.

It´s clear from the surge of Cubans launching solo exhibitions in the United States, something good is going on. 

I call it the Cuban cultural thaw. Cuba´s government may appear schizophrenic. I prefer, "schzoid," in transition to a state of proximate world reality.

"Peñeiro" by Dausell Valdés

If Barack Obama is re-elected, a thaw will morph into meltdown.

It appears exit visas to the States for certain Cuban artists are much relaxed. On the island, artists are encouraged to embrace the revolution in their works, and as in the Soviet model, loyalty is usually rewarded.

Consider painter Dausell Valdes, who on 6 April, dedicated two of his works to  Raul and Fidel Castro, as part of the 50th anniversary of the José Martí Pioneer Children´s Organization, patterned after the former Soviet regime´s invention by the same name.

The Valdés donations come on the eve of the 16 April people´s and military parade in Havana´s Plaza de la Revolución.

Politics and art mix well in both Cuban worlds.

In very much the May Day Kremlin parade tradition, art, spectacle and military might merge.

Juan García Cruz

This is where, according to the Cuban News Agency (CNA) news release, “…thousands of children and youths will show the invincible strength of socialism and the ideas we defend, exactly 50 years after the victory over the Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion,” said Olga Lidia Tapla, a member of Cuba´s Communist Party Central Committee, at the Valdés ceremony.

On 25 March, in another arts homage to Cuban revolutionary leaders, authorities unveiled what CNA called a “big mural on stone ( 3 x 2 meters) with the image of Camilo Cienfuegos,” along the road from Cienfuegos to Trindad, in the south of the island.

Artist Juan Garcia Cruz supervised the project. CNA identified one of the muralists as Lazaro Gonzalez Hernandez.

This is part of the  island´s Mountain Biennial.
"Son Los Sueños Todavía" by Dausell Valdes, acrylic.
More “big-format sculptures are expected to be anchored in the Guamuhaya massif (plateau),” CNA reported.

E-mail requests to CNA remain unanswered by posting.

Rock on and practice peace and love.

Stefan, the ArtTraveler™

Thinking about art traveling to Spain? Consider a week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop or walking holiday in our lush Andalusian mountains above the Med. See: and

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