During the panel held in the Goethe-Institut in Prague, the last political leadership change in Cuba was analyzed, as well as the uncertainties about how it will affect the current situation in both internal and international affairs. About this subject, Diaz-Canel’s first speech was recalled, as the new President’s reinforced the continuity of the past, by which human rights groups claim that since his inauguration the government continued punishing public critic and dissent.
Decree 349, the state of independent culture in Cuba and the role of international cooperation were other topics treated during this panel discussion.
Tania Bruguera is a concept artist, installations, videos and performances maker. She studied at the Escuela Elemental de Artes Plásticas 20 de Octubre, at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas “San Alejandro”, at the Instituto Superior de Arte of Havana and subsequently at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In her pieces, she establishes a direct relationship with the public, with the intention of getting it out of the role of passive observer to that of an active enquirer and participant. Her pieces have a clear and recognizable social and political undertone, as they surpass their own aesthetical and representational values to focus, in her own words, in ethical beauty when it comes to social and political art“. She has exhibited in Documenta (Germany), the Venice Biennale (Italy) and London’s Tate Modern (United Kingdom), Gallery PS1 (Moma, United States), The New Museum of Contemporary Art (United States), The Whitechapel Gallery (London), Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Germany), and Kunsthalle Wien (Austria). Her work has earned her the following awards: Guggenheim Fellowship in 1998 (United States), the 2013-2014 Meadows Prize (Dallas, EEUU) and the 2018 Prince Claus Award (Netherlands). By the end of 2014, she traveled to Havana for her performance Tatlin’s Whisper #6 which was intended to be performed in the iconic Plaza de la Revolución of Havana, so that, Cubans, microphone in hand, could express their opinions about the future and their country’s reality. As a consequence, she was detained along with the other artists that had participated.
Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara is a self-taught visual artist. He has different personal projects such as “Materialización del objeto soñado III” exhibited in the first Biennial of Contemporary Art in Asunción, Paraguay and Welcome to Yumas, presented as part of Hors-Pistes: “La Primavera del Amor” (The Spring of Love) during the 12th Havana’s Biennial. His last public interventions are “¿Dónde está Mella?” (Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski, 2017) and “Lo que ha Pistoletto no se le ocurrió” (2017). Among his online pieces, the highlights are an Indian Summer Diary. I love Canada, Canada love me. (2016), where he criticized the arbitrariness of power and its impact on the illusions and dreams of the people. In 2016, he created with the collaboration of Yanelys Núñez Leyva the Museum of Dissidence in Cuba (MDC). On the 24th of January of 2018, he presented with co-author de Yanelys Nuñez and as part of the new event Hors Pistes: The Nation and its Fictions and Another Treaty of Paris. This was a project commissioned and produced by the Centre Pompidou and Elegoa Cultural Productions. Curated by Catherine Sicot.