Art without Barriers, a space for love and virtue

Art without Barriers, a space for love and virtue
Fecha de publicación: 
14 December 2022
Imagen principal: 

She is there smiling in every photo I took that morning at Casa del Alba. Before, her eyes had stared in awe the wet paper, I cannot say whether they were delighted by colors, proud of the applauses given by her partners, or trying to discover concrete figures among the stains that were, perhaps, her first art work.

Among women entrepreneurs, the First Day of Art and Disability Art without barriers was developed, an event dreamed from the heart for children with disabilities. It was held in various venues in Vedado, Havana, and came up from one experience Ivette Ávila Martín had at the International Unlimited Festival in London:

"While there, the colleague from the British Council and I realized that here in Cuba there are a large number of initiatives, all separately, and we don't know each other, we don't know what each one does and there was the possibility of coming and doing it here. So I came with my idea of doing something small, with the support of the ICAIC Animation Studios, then the Provincial Directorate of Culture, the Art Instructors, the Houses of Culture, the special schools got involved and the idea was very well welcomed.”


Other passengers immediately joined this "surprising journey into a world of imagination and creativity," as they described it even before the start. They knew —they felt that such a commitment envisioned form the heart had to be possible and enjoy a happy ending. Today, after experiencing it, Isabel Hamze, a specialist from the Directorate of Foreign Trade and Investment Coordination of the Government of Havana, summarizes:

"The event achieved its general goal, since it contributed to raise the awareness of citizens about the potential and rights of people with physical-motor, visual, hearing and intellectual disabilities for their social inclusion."

Over a thousand boys, girls and teenagers from all the special schools in the province, the workshops of cultural and community houses and from various elementary and junior high schools in the Plaza municipality, joined the workshops of art creation and appreciation.

It was a week to create and dream of a better world, in which each and every one of us can propose and enjoy our own share of beauty, as expressed by the Coordinator of the Provincial Government, Luis Carlos Góngora, at the opening of the event:

“The world of the arts is fascinating for human beings. Feelings, knowledge, peculiar interpretations of real life and the fantasy we all carry inside are expressed through it. Some people with special talents are creators in different art manifestations and others experience different emotions before the work of art, either from music, dance, theater, literature, cinema, or visual arts.

“There are no possible exclusions for such feelings, no disability can limit them.”

The Utility of Virtue...

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted at the United Nations General Assembly in 2006, recognizes that “increasing public awareness and improving their understanding of disability, mutual understanding and respect contribute to an inclusive society. Therefore, it is essential to improve the way in which the population understands disability.”

This precept became a reality in Cuba from November 30 to December 2, Isabel tells us that there were many institutions, organizations, private initiative actors and international cooperation projects that welcomed the idea and offered their support. A leading role, she highlights, was played by the directorates of culture and education.

The event included workshops on plastic arts, literature, music, performing and audiovisual arts, specifically animation.

This first edition of Art without Barriers, has left us endearing images, which are worth sharing and are the best omen for the future: “we are thinking of doing it every two years. And meanwhile, special schools may carry out exchanges between them. We are still defining how, but it is certain that we are going to hold the event," says Isabel.

Whatever the frequency, this space of creation for love and virtue will be welcomed.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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