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WatchMojo takes a look at the history of Cuban art from 1867.
Tags:The History of Cuban Art - Part 2/2,ancient art,art history,cuban art,Cuban art history,Cuban art origins,Cuban artwork,revolutionary art,watchmojo,abstract art,fidel castro,may 1968
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Female: There is a wonderful mural behind us which was created by almost a hundred artists. Tell us a little bit about the history of this mural. Stephan: It’s the collective mural of the Sonondomy of 1967. The Sonondomy was a Parisian institution that was born in May 1945 just after the liberation of Paris. It grouped together the best artists of the European scene. The Sonondomy artists were all invited officially by the revolutionary government to show their works in Havana, and then they would show them in Paris afterwards. And what happened, while they were there, they produced this extraordinary mural over one night. And each had a little sector, and then for those who know the artists of that period, you can recognize, oh Martinez, and Jacque Moneri, and Cizare and Wilfred Dulan, the circle in the middle. And as we, you know go down the spiral, the number 26 is left blank. The number 26 was Fidel Castro, because his movement was the one of July 26, so that is, that’s his sacred number. But he never had the time to come and visit. And year after, in ’68 this mural went to Paris, that’s May ’68, so the show opened and there was riot in the street, on this Paris May ’68, and it closed down, and so actually, it was only seen 3 or 4 hours outside of Cuba on its 40 year existence. Female: One of the things we hear about Cuba under the communists system is that their limited space on the freedom of expression. How has this affected the content of the artwork created post 1959? Stephan: During the revolution, during the first year the artists like, embraced the revolution. It was a beautiful movement to embrace. I mean this was, you know, freedom, getting rid of the dictatorship. Fidel himself always said our enemies is imperialism and capitalism, not abstract art. He was smart enough to know that an abstract painting would not coz, you know, the fall of his regime. On the other hand, in the ‘70s, the regime sort of crack down a little bit harder, but mostly on literature and cinema. But in the ‘80s and ‘90s and also due to the collapse of the Soviet block and the collapse of the Cuban economy as a consequence, there is a new school of thought, a weird thought of Cuban Artists to be very critical of the current state of affairs. There have been cases of censorship, they’re documented, they’ve been documented into the catalog. The artists are very critical of the situation and one will notice this where you have a detector of ideology, where you have the island represented with cement blocks, it’s El Bloqueo or it’s El Bargo. Female: What do you hope accomplish with this exhibition? Stephan: Cuba is not just a land of beaches. It’s also very, very special country with a rich history and we think that this exhibition should serve in revealing this history in a better way. Female: Thank you so much for your time. It’s been a great pleasure to meet you and to hear about the exhibit in detail. Stephan: Thank you, my pleasure.