Artists paint dresses for “Fashion Art” exhibition


20 minutos, Panorama, Diario de Cuba, and other Cuban media sources report on the “Fashion Art” project, in which artists are involved in painting dresses for the exhibition. Cubans artists Eduardo Abela, Cuty, Ernesto Rancaño, Jorge Perugorría, and Esterio Segura, as well as Puerto Rican artists Antonio Martorell and Bernardo Medina, were among the Caribbean painters involved in the project. Here is my translation of the article:

Black lines curved on a white canvas, blurred faces that appear from the torso of a multicolored dress, decorative touches that look like thick brown thorns, or prints featuring Lenin’s face. Cuban and foreign artists have partnered with designer Manuel Fernández to produce an exhibition on clothing.’

“Havana is a vital place to be now; it is fashionable and increasingly has international visibility,” saidCuban designer Fernandez, who heads the Fashion Art project and created the dresses that were later illustrated. “The curatorial axis centered on showing many different styles; there was no specific theme and the artists did what they wanted. “Painters such as the Cubans Eduardo Abela, Cuty, Ernesto Rancaño, Jorge Perugorría, and Esterio Segura; Spaniards Agustín Ibarrola, Ouka Leele, and Jesús Zurita; and Puerto Rican artists Antonio Martorell and Bernardo Medina approached works that seek to explore in the third dimension that these dresses provide.

Fashion Art, which exhibits these pieces on mannequins, started in 1998, and in 2003, had its first exhibition. It traveled through many different places such as Spain, Holland, Paraguay, and Puerto Rico, and now, gathering artists in the Cuban capital, it will open at the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater.

“The piece I made is a story that has to do with the Russian presence in Havana,” said Abela, whose work is actually one of the popular matrioskas dressed in the necklaces and colors of Cuban Santeria. “I really liked the idea of working on fashion items because you are able to enhance an expression that may be considered banal, but being sublimated by an artist turns it into something interesting.”

On Friday, members of the National Ballet of Cuba put on the dresses and posed in a photo session prior to the inauguration for a catalog that is part of the project. One of the most suggestive works is the one presented by Cuty (Gustavo Echevarría), with prints of the profile of the Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and a profusion of sickles and hammers, the inevitable icons of Communism. The idea is to make a contrast between “something as sensual, as consumerist” as clothing “and the closed symbols of Communism,” explained the artist.

[Photo above from]

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