Sunday, May 29, 2011

Repressing freedom of speech takes on monumental 10-ton protest in Moscow

Ostracized Cuban artist Pedro Pablo Oliva in Havana

Mexican sculptor Rivelilno´s "Nuestros Silencios"

I wonder how the Russian press will cover Mexican sculptor Rivelino´s 10-ton protest against suppressing freedom of speech, which opened 25 May at Moscow´s Muzeon Sculpture Park.

"Nuestros Silencios" (Our Silences) –10, one-ton sphinx-like iconic sentinels popping up in Putin´s Russia. 

The show concludes on 30 June.

Moscow´s the end of a long road trip for these monumental nomadic symbols with mouths clamped shut, each differently, each 3.5 x 2.3 x 1.1 meters with a white and ocher patina and built of bronze using the lost wax casting method.

The show started in Mexico in 2009 and heads home after Moscow to be reborn sometime in early 2012 for exhibitions in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Rivelino´s "Nuestros Silencios"

It also visited Lisbon, Madrid, Brussels, Potsdam, Rome and London.

“Conceptually, this project of public art is an invitation to reflect on silence, in other words, it is about freedom of express – in all its manifestations – as a universal and paradoxical theme of communication,” according to the exhibition’s official website.

Where there should be media contact information, videos, news releases and photos focusing only on the Russian show, there´s nothing--under construction, unlike Rivelino´s works.

Nor would Rivelino´s “Nuestros Silencios” be welcome in Beijing or Havana, Cuba.

In Beijing, there´s a communion of silence among the few avant-garde artists sympathetic to Ai Weiwei.

 Ai Weiwei´s provocative performance protest, dropping a Han Dynasty urn

They are hibernating, dispersed to their home towns or quietly gone underground.

Beijing buzz is these edgy artists are waiting to take new political barometer readings in the fall. Meanwhile, many politically prickly projects are under wraps.

But paranoia is contagious and part of Communist Party DNA.

A painting by Edro Pablo Oliva

In Havana last week, Raul Castro´s government shut Cuban painter Pedro Pablo Oliva´s studio in Havana, shorn him of his government job, ridiculing him as a “traitor” and “annexationist,” someone wanting the United States to annex his island nation.

Like Wewei, Oliva blogged his way to official damnation by demanding a multi-party system on Generacion Y, government opponent Yoani Sanchez´s blog.

At the heart of it, Rivelino´s “Nuestros Silencios and freedom of expression. 

And our silences. 

Oliva in press reports admitted but defended his right to participate in his government by criticizing it.

He vehemently denied he is disloyal to the regime.

Nor does he intend leaving Cuba.

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

Visit Andalusia for a walking holiday or week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop. See: and

"Spanish life stilled," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)

 ArtTraveler´s video: an interview with Scottish illustrator and painter, Gordon Wilson, about his new "I Love Fish" exhibition, inspired by a commissioned mural he did 12 years ago for a West Glasgow gangster, who loved supporting writers and artists as well as organized crime.

You may reach me at or by calling (34) 915 067 703 or from the UK at BT landline rates, 0844 774 8349

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