Imprint of a generation

Cuban art students present their work inspired by the letters of the work Blockade, at Wifredo Lam contemporary art gallery Havana.

Cuban art students raise their voices through their works, against the economic blockade imposed on their country and sustained for six decades by US governments

A few hours after the United National General Assembly voted against the United States blockade against Cuba on 23 June*, students from the San Alejandro Academy and the University of the Arts, in Havana, launched their exhibition ‘Unblock-Young People Against the Blockade‘ at the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art gallery in Havana.

According to the curator, visual artist Yamilys Brito Jorge, director of the Taller Experimental de la Gráfica de La Habana (Experimental Printing Workshop in Havana), the idea took shape when a group of young people were asked to use the letters of the word BLOQUEO (blockade) to create works about their social and political involvement.

None of the young artists had the chance to see each other’s work until the exhibition opened, since they were all worked remotely from their homes, following Covid-19 social distancing measures. However, the end result was really harmonious, free of cliches.

With originality and freshness, they turned their view of the US siege on Cuba into artwork. On paper, 30 x 40cm approximately, and using various techniques, they reflected how much this unjust and genocidal policy damages their lives on an artistic and human level.

View the artworks here. Photos courtesy of the curator YAMILYS BRITO JORGE

B = Alison Xiques Díaz, ink and pencil.

L = Airel Michel Suárez, ink and watercolour. Recontextualizes representative icons of Cuban identity.

O = Miguel Manuel Calzadilla, coloured pencil and watercolour.

Q = Alejandro Ramírez Astudillo, collage. He links the well-known QR code with class notes on computing, alluding to the fact that the blockade limits internet access.

U = lan Xiques, digitally printed photo collage.

E = Anabel Valdés Valdés, acrylic and pencil.

O = Marysol de Armas Brito, ink on graphite. Two alligators tied together, as a symbol of how much the blockade immobilizes the Cuban people.

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Note * In a show of support for Cuba’s 29th resolution against the US blockade at the United National General Assembly, 184 countries voted in favour, 2 against (US and Israel), while 3 countries abstained (Colombia, Brazil and Ukraine).