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Cuban and American Graphic Artists Share Dreams

The guitar and Trova music were the reason this time. Soon the photographic perspectives of the instrument were studied and its strings touched; people also with listened to the “intelligent” musical form, which the guitar faithfully accompanies.

 Email served as the connection; it was the communications bridge that allowed for the sharing of the ten-year-old dream to design a “clean guitar.”

The main characters of this peculiar idea are Cuban and American graphic designers. They have become friends, and at the same time critics of their own work thanks to the “Compartiendo Sueños” (Sharing Dreams) project.

The initiative —undertaken by Cuba’s Pablo de la Torriente Brau Cultural Center and the Association of Graphic Design, from the country to the north— turned five in 2008. The groups celebrated that anniversary with the exhibition “Sharing Dreams 5,” which was celebrated at the Havana arts institution that served to provide the American group with a space to contribute to Trova music.

With an emphasis on color, lines and words, ten posters have been created that reflect the visions of these graphic artists. In the Pablo Center’s Majadahonda Room, these pieces are on exhibition and can be appreciated through December 30.

Victor Casaus, the director of the cultural institution and one of the organizers of Sharing Dreams, affirms that his organization energetically accepted the proposal by Cubans to pay homage to the art form of the local troubadours—focusing on the guitar.

“The early part of the project, when we were exchanging emails, was very important for us. We not only shared the designs, but also our tastes in music; and that’s how they got to learn a little about the ‘New Trova’ form,” said Casaus.

He described the project as “very personal,” and based on strong friendship and mutual respect for professional work.

“Over this half a decade,” he indicated, “there have been several themes that we sketch graphically, such as love, peace, and design in culture; this last theme was dealt with in 2007, at the ICOGRADA graphics arts conference in Havana.

Victor recalled that the project began in 2003 under the administration Bush, which is now almost out of office. Last year that government gave the cultural initiative a direct body blow when it denied visas to both Héctor Villaverde and Casaus himself. They had planned to attend one of the activities organized by Sharing Dreams in New York City.

Toni O’Brian, the American coordinator, recognizes the difficulty in accomplishing an activity like this. However, “With a lot of help and effort we have been able to come here in every year,” he said.

For O’Brian, what is key is persistence and the desire of strengthen bonds with his Cuban counterparts, those who overcome obstacles. To him, what this sensitive and very human project shows is that “anything is possible.”

(Juventud Rebelde)

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