FOOD FOR THE SOUL: Havana´s Art Biennial, 2015
What art offers, said John Updike, is space: “…a certain breathing room for the spirit”…food for the soul. That breathing room is precisely what’s happening right now (May 22nd-June 22nd) all over the Cuban capitol. It’s Havana´s 12th Biennial and the city is buzzing. Established in 1984 – and aiming to showcase artists from the South (non-Western Art) – the present event is located in numerous galleries, houses and public spaces around town: “…a Biennial not for collectors and gallerists but which connects with the city”. That said, there are plenty of the former here (especially from the US) and sales are hot.
If you’re a serious culture-vulture do fix up some kind of transport – to get from one opening to the next. Anticipate some changes and don´t expect things to always tally with your programme. Remember that Havana doesn´t have the infrastructure, money (or timekeeping!) of London or New York. That said, more than 200 artists and projects from 44 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East are participating so unless you really know your stuff best to contract a curator or very well-informed guide.
So far I´ve only managed a small section of the Cuban exhibits but next week I´ll bring you more from the rest. The crowds will also lessen a little and you´ll be able to dawdle rather than dash; there will be breathing room. And this is when you can really experience the wonder of Havana and its culture, and feel how art – as the great Picasso reflected –”…washes from the soul the dust of everyday life”. Havana Art Biennial: Information HQ – Wifredo Lam Centre of Contemporary Art, Plaza de la Catedral, Old Havana. Sue Herrod