The exhibition featuring 16 water colour paintings painted by Antonio Guerrero opened in London on 3rd December. Guerrero, one of the Miami Five who have been unjustly incarcerated in US prisons, created 'Absolved by Solidarity' to mark the 16 years of imprisonment of the three who remain in prison. Other artwork by contemporary Cuban artists incuding Kcho, Nelson Dominguez, Choco, Mirabal,Manuel Comas and others will also be on display All art is on sale in aid of the campaign to free the Five. An special evening reception on Friday 5th December will be addressed by Cuban Ambassador, Teresita Vicente,Charge d'Affaires interim.
The Miami Five were arrested in 1998 on conspiracy-related charges arising from their activity in monitoring Miami-based terrorist groups whose criminal actions against Cuba have resulted in nearly 3,500 deaths since 1959. When the information the Five gathered was passed to the FBI in 1998, it was the Five who were arrested and given harsh prison sentences.
In notes accompanying the exhibition, Guerrero states that he hopes his paintings will bring the injustices of the case to new people who will be able to see that the Five have always defended the truth with dignity.
Each painting records different elements of the "rigged proceedings" of the trial held in 2000. The artwork addresses the impossibility of a fair trial in Miami, the restrictions on consultations with lawyers, the degrading treatment by prison officers, the payment by the US goverment of thousands of dollars to journalists to write inflammatory articles, the refusal to allow all the family members to be present and other obstacles to a fair trial. In these conditions, the Five were not surprised by the "coldly calculated" guilty verdict. "We had fully expected such a verdict and we responded to it with dignity and totally convinced of our innocence." Yet despite the outcome of the trial, Guerrero says in his Exhibition Notes that "We never saw ourselves as defeated, knowing that we stood absolved by the many honest men and women in the world who have now formed a continuous wave of solidarity which will never end until we return to our homes."
One of the most moving paintings, of clapping hands, represents the unexpected applause from other prisoners that greeted the Five when they returned to their cells following the verdict. The guilty verdict "was offset by that gesture of respect, admiration and support which could well be called the first act of solidarity with our cause."
Exhibiting alongside Absolved by Solidarity are paintings created by Guerrero for the 15th anniversary of the imprisonment of the Five entitled I will die the way I've lived. Each painting in this series depicts an aspect of the first 17 months of incarceration, when the Five were kept awaiting trial in punishment isolation cells known as the 'hole' at the Federal Detention Center in Miami.
Hosted by the North and South London groups of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
Hours of opening:Wednesday 3rd December 1 – 5pmThursday 4th December 11am – 5pmFriday 5th December 11am – 5pm,Saturday 6th December 11am – 2pm
Special reception: Friday 5th December 7-9pm. Details: contact CSC firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 020 7490 7515
Venue: Bolivar Hall, 54 Grafton Way, London W1T 5LS Nearest tube: Warren Street.