Against Boycotts and Campaigns... the Biennial

Against Boycotts and Campaigns... the Biennial
Fecha de publicación: 
8 April 2022
Imagen principal: 

Those who thought that the XIV Havana Biennial was not going to get important artists (Cuban and foreign) to join its catalog should visit the mega-exhibition Back to the Future, which occupies the spaces of the Cultural Station of Linea Street, in Vedado, Havana.

Not long ago the director of the event, Nelson Ramírez de Arellano, described this edition as if it were a great symphony. The image is beautiful, a growing symphony that reaches its climax in this third experience.

It would be appropriate to visit the exhibitions of the Biennal. Those that were inaugurated in previous editions and those that have just opened their doors in this one.

Those who affirmed and continue affirming that the Biennale is a kind of government advertising effort, a propaganda tool, should attend these exhibitions.

In the proposals for Back to the Future there’s an essentially critical spirit. Art committed to a context, local or universal. And not exactly self-satisfied art.

That is one of the pillars of the Biennial: an art of resistance. Because that is one (it does not mean it’s the only one) of the roles of art in contemporary times. Critical awareness. Recreation that contributes to understanding our surroundings.

And of course, art is not there to solve problems, although to some extent it can shed light on some paths.

Art is there to offer light, to highlight, to rank, to pay testimony...

There’s a need to say, to express, to give meaning. The Havana Biennial is consolidated as a space for the confluence of dissimilar expressions, a platform for the socialization of discourses that, at times, are ignored by commercial logic or the hegemonic media.

The so-called boycott largely failed. Well, certain proposals could not be counted on because their authors bowed to pressure. And those pressures, in some cases, were very strong.

But others are here, and their works are very respected. They make up an accessible artistic body, in dialogue with the public, with critics…. In interaction with other works.

It’s the idea of ​​the symphony that Nelson Ramírez de Arellano mentioned.

The priority is to establish productive dialogues with the public, open up a wide range of possibilities that are, in the end, lines to understand or question our circumstances. The lines of art are always needed.

Some, actually believe that art is a luxury, something that could be lived without in complex moments. But the contributions of art, although not “accountable”, are extraordinary.

Art raises the quality of life and contributes to the effective dialogue of the individual with the framework in which he is inserted, which integrates him.

To relinquish this impact on the broadest spectrum of citizenship (or at least, to renounce the claim to democratize this impact more and more) would be equivalent to limiting certain aesthetic experiences to the pleasure of elites, closing an important window to the knowledge of the world and its circumstances.

That’s why a Biennial is celebrated in Cuba.

Culture (and this is not a slogan) makes us freer.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.