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Elephants Loose in Havana
The herd of elephants sculpted by Cuban artist Jose Emilio Fuentes Fonseca (Jeff) has become one of the most popular, amazing spectacles of the 10th Havana Arts Biennial.

The exhibition being moved from one area of the city to another answers to the natural migration habits of these animals in the African and Asian prairies, says their creator, noting that in so doing his elephants can be seen by an ever larger number of Havana people. The exhibition, though, is a source of abundant and also unfounded speculation that goes as far as attributing symbolic values to such an artistic event.

An astounding display of public art indeed! There have been sculpture exhibitions by Botero in plazas and avenues of major cities; there was Christo’s wrapping of the Reichstag in the very heart of Berlin; then in December public monuments in Sao Paulo were visually adorned. In Havana itself, a few years ago Exposito, together with a group of other artists, organized a caravan of painted cars.

And now there is Jeff, allowing his twelve elephants to freely move around the city. From a technical standpoint, the animals posed for the artist the challenge of mastering the work with inflated metal. Formally, though, they are realistic, un-detailed sculptures.

My personal interpretation? Simply that it is great to have art moving out of galleries and museums to blend with life itself!


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