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On the threshold of Havana’s Art Biennial 2012

On the threshold of Havana’s Art Biennial 2012

The month of May should officially be declared a holiday in Havana. An incessant movement of artists, builders, designers, cranes and scaffolding shake the city heralding the approach of the 11th Art Biennial that will take place from May 11 to June 11, 2012. Meanwhile, theater lovers are having a field day with the Mayo Teatral Festival (May 8-13); the rhythms of Cubadisco (May 19-27) can be heard throughout the island; the sound of castanets announce the Spanish Imprint Festival (May 27-June 6); and poets get ready for the 16th International Poetry Festival (May 21-27). And to crown it all, this intense cultural program coincides with the National Baseball Championship semifinals and finals. However, the Havana Art Biennial steals the show. Artists from 40 different countries from all over the world will pour on to galleries and public spaces with their art.

Here are a number of exhibitions that Cuba Absolutely would like to recommend (see complete program at

Fotografía en vivo Havana (Havana Live Photos) by Norwegian artist Crispin Gurlhot, who will exhibit for the first time in Latin America his innovative “live pictures,” frozen moments that are separated from viewers by acrylic sheets or natural barriers (Línea entre D y E, Vedado, Saturday, May 12, 4:00pm).

The flags/clouds of South African artist Doreen Southwood will fly on the flagpoles of the Telegraph and Parque Central Hotels, across Parque Central in Old Havana (Friday, May 11).

El barco de la tolerancia [The Ship of Tolerance], by Russian artists IIya and Emilia Kabacov. Young carpenters from the City Historian’s Office have built a galleon on whose sails 500 Cuban children have painted their idea of ??tolerance (Castillo de la Real Fuerza, Old Havana, Friday, May 11).

Detrás del muro [Behind the Wall], 18 projects by 28 artists (Malecón from Parque Maceo to La Punta, Sunday, May 13).

Ciudad generosa [Generous City], built by René Francisco and his students from the Fourth Teaching Practice on an empty lot on 3ra entre D y E, Vedado (Friday, May 11, 5:00pm).

Surcos de la ciudad [The Furrows of the City], by JR (France) and Jose Parlá Puerto Rico) will contrast the traces of life on the faces of the elderly with the furrows visible on city walls in Old Havana, Centro Habana and El Vedado, Sunday, May 13.

Conga Irreversible (Irreversible Conga) by Los Carpinteros (Friday May 11, 5:30pm. Paseo del Prado. This presentation will be repeated on May 19 and 26 at the same place and time.

Cabezas [Heads] performance by Manuel Mendive. Over 100 actors, dancers, singers and circus performers whose bodies will be painted by the artist, will parade down Paseo del Prado to the Malecón and return the Capitolio (Friday May 11, 6:00pm

Se soltaron los leones [The Lions Got Loose], by Roberto Fabelo, who in the past Biennial surprised the public with cockroaches that climbed the walls of the National Museum of Fine Arts (Prado and Malecón May 13, 7:00pm).

HB, muestra de arte cubano contemporáneo [Cuban Contemporary Art], a sample of the work of 45 Cuban artists, which includes Kcho, Los Carpinteros, René Francisco, Abel Barroso, Duvier del Dago, Yoan and Ivan Capote, Raúl Cordero, Sandra Ramos and many more (Pabexpo, Wednesday, May 9, 9:00pm).
June 2012

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