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46 Painters Exhibit in Havana: 'Todo Almendares
The 'Todo Almendares exhibit was inaugurated at the reception room there, after successfully passing its acid test at the Fresa y Chocolate Cultural Center just a few months ago. Some of the people who attended the event said they saw their lives and themselves reflected on the hotel walls.

This is a praiseworthy example of what can be achieved in the field of community action. A group of 46 artists, from the neighborhoods of La Ceiba, La Güinera and Pogolotti, gathered up the threads of the residents lives in those areas -their mysteries, conflicts and experiences- and accurately reproduced that reality in their paintings, their sculptures and their ceramics.

Sponsored by the Talleres de Transformación Integral del Barrio (Comprehensive Neighborhood Transformation Workshops), the Havana Parque Metropolitano Park and the International Committee for Peoples Development -an Italian NGO-, the exhibit shows the reality in those Havana neighborhoods, using the colors and rhythms that characterize Cuban identity.

Setting aside the concepts and techniques used by the artists -to be assessed by art critics- the exhibits merits are in putting artistic creation at the service of those, who need to express their feelings and transform their environment with a profound sense of freedom that emerges from the popular traditions.

Despite the different styles and the contrasts regarding the artists training, the exhibit gives a sense of unity, while respecting differences and personal creativity. Each artist reflects their environment, and in the process they become characters in their own works, turning the exhibit into a biography, written collectively.

In the catalog, journalist and writer René Tamayo refers to the exhibits cultural and sociological values. "'Todo Amendares summarizes what we consider a germinal cycle that in some cases began while keeping up the popular traditions and in others, at the art schools. Heterogeneous in their styles and concepts, the works that make up this exhibit have something in common: they reflect human geography and nature and the spirit of three Havana neighborhoods, which have a significant influence on the artists sense of identity."

This is yet another reason to applaud proudly this community project that contributes greatly to enriching Cuban popular culture.


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