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10th Havana Biennial Art Exhibition
Founded in the 1980s primarily to promote Cuban fine arts, the organizers fought hard to overcome the economic crisis that affected Cuba in the 1990s, and at times had to postpone the event and wait for better circumstances.

However, the event continues to be held and includes a central exhibition, as well as the usual ‘take-over’ of open urban spaces by groups of artists, proposals in the different communities and the special activities within the network of art galleries and cultural institutions in Havana.

“We are working hard to make the coming biennial art exhibition a really special event,” said Margarita González, Deputy Director of the cultural institution that since 1984 has organized the Havana Biennial Festival --considered one of the most important events related to fine arts in the Third World.

“The contest is still open,” said González and pointed out that works submitted thus far include paintings and pictures, using a wide variety of techniques and tendencies on such varied themes as wars, drugs, violence, advertising, markets, migration and the Information Age.

Going beyond the different themes, “the event will strengthen its experimental nature, serving as a laboratory of visual arts and other cultural disciplines as well,” reads the text of the event’s official announcement issued by the Wilfredo Lam center.

The 1st and 2nd biennial events included an awards ceremony, but then the organizing committee decided to make it a non-competitive event. Ever since, the biennial event has had central themes, among them tradition and contemporary times, challenges, art, society and reflection, man and his memory, life with art and urban life.

“In selecting the participating works, the experts are seeking points of contact between the proposals submitted by the artists and the central theme of the event, which attempts to somehow show the main characteristics of the world we live in,” said the expert.

With a central theme called ‘Integration and resistance in the Globalization Era’, the 10th Havana Biennial Art Exhibition will take place from March 27th through April 30th, 2009.

The event “offers Cuban artists the opportunity to look other ways of doing things, not just those imposed by the world’s hegemonies, but alternative ways as well”, said painter Joel Jover, who participated as an exhibitor during the second and fourth biennial events.

“The event serves as a unique opportunity to see how art reflects current world problems, as well as to promote new talents, whom for one reason or another, are yet unknown,” said Jover.

Being true to the new talents, emerging art and the proposals by Third World artists, has been, according to González, one of the challenges taken by the Havana Biennial Art Exhibition and recalled that in the beginning, the contest was only open to artists from Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

According to the official announcement of the next event, the Havana Biennial Art Exhibition will not ignore the new geo-political world situation, the increased numbers of impoverished nations and those that, with precarious conditions, are seeking their inclusion in the list of most favored nations.

“Taking these circumstances into account, we’re interested in broadening our scope, expanding participation to include artists from other countries and regions, as well as those who due to recent migration processes are now living in the so-called First World.”

Besides the fine arts exhibits, the 10th Havana Biennial Art Exhibition will also include conferences, workshops and master classes, documentaries and video screenings.

“We will also ‘take over’ all the available urban spaces and municipal galleries, in order to maintain close contact with the communities. On this special occasion, we want to show and promote good Cuban art,” said



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