Art Brut Exhibit in Cuba


OnCuba’s Darcy Borrero reports on a recent exhibit of art brut at the Spanish Embassy in Havana. She writes: “Cuba already has its own catalogue of art brut or outsider art, headed by Misleydis Castillo and Jorge Alberto Hernández Cadi (also known as El Buzo).” Here are excerpts of her article and interview with the artists:

She [Misleydis Castillo], deaf and mute and autistic, proposes pictorial images of strong men, body builders, with a repetitive effort of achieved minimalism. He [Jorge Alberto Hernández Cadi], bipolar and a schizophrenic, has the habit of collecting pieces from waste material to then recycle them and turn them into art, once they adopt diabolic features.

Both artists are exhibiting their works in the Spanish Embassy in Havana together with Spaniard Ramón Losa and U.S. Milton Schwartz thanks to New York professor and art critic Lyle Rexer, curator Daniel Klein and Juan Martín, coordinator and executive director of the National Art Exhibitions by the Mentally Ill Inc. (Naemi). [. . .]

Why have you chosen Havana as the scenario for this collective exhibition by artists of three nationalities (Cuban, Spanish and U.S.)?

In the first place, because I’m Cuban. I always had that dream and the idea was to bring originals by several U.S. artists. But it was very difficult to transport them and we weren’t able to do it. We will do it at another time and we hope that the Cuban cultural institutions will open the doors because it would be good to bring those U.S. artists to the island. [. . .]

[. . .] But it was not only Martín. Professor Lyleir Rexer, of New York University, also hopes to bring U.S. artists to the island and carry out exchanges. He wants to build bridges and that his projects are able to be exhibited in the building of the Museum of Fine Arts. He makes an effort to speak in Spanish to express his assessments about the art that comes and goes through the Gulf currents, and in whose waters the northerners and Antilleans converge.

“There are self-taught artists in Cuba and the United States. I would like to bring them closer, above all those from the south of the United States, with whom Cuba shares history. This is a good subject to connect the two countries, although it isn’t exactly through folklore,” he says. [. . .]

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