2022 Prince Claus Impact Awardee: Manuel Otero Alcántara

The Prince Claus Fund recently featured work by Cuban artist Manuel Otero Alcántara, a recipient of the inaugural 2022 Prince Claus Impact Awards. The other five recipients were Ailton Krenak, María Medrano, May al-Ibrashy, Hassan Darsi, and Alain Gomis. See below for more on Otero Alcántara’s work.

The Prince Claus Fund supports socially engaged artists and cultural practitioners at different stages of their careers through three awards. The Seed, Mentorship and Impact Awards offer recognition, peer connection, mentorship and financial support for inspiring practitioners at every level. Each of the awards aims to make a contribution to a world in which the transformative power of culture can lead to positive change. The work of all of our award recipients reflects and shapes the societies they live in. Through their engagement with culture, these individuals are transforming the way in which we see the world around us, while at the same time shining a light on the vital issues they and their societies face. [. . .]

The inaugural 2022 Prince Claus Impact Awards were awarded to Ailton Krenak, María Medrano, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, May al-Ibrashy, Hassan Darsi and Alain Gomis. [. . .]

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara is a Cuban artist and human rights defender whose performances are critical of the conditions many Cubans face. Alcántara leads the San Isidro Collective – an artists’ collective that promotes freedom of expression and cultural rights. He is a co-founder of The Museum of Dissidence, a website and public art project reclaiming and celebrating dissent. 

Alcántara has been using art and cultural expression to contest the ongoing violations of freedom of expression by the Cuban government. In his early work, he created sculptures of human forms, animals, and characters from comic books using salvaged materials. He used sculpture to create a “realistic copy of reality”. However, in the development of his practice Alcántara wanted to have a more tangible impact with his art and to “search for work that contributed to the reality in which [he] lived”. This desire led him to performance art and an individual artistic expression that communicates complex and ironic social and political criticism. 

Alcántara has faced ongoing persecution for his performances. He has had his work confiscated and has been forcibly detained multiple times. His ongoing detention has drawn protests and statements of solidarity from international artists who support his unwavering fight for the freedom of cultural expression in Cuba.

See Otero Alcántara’s WEBSITE.

For more information, see https://princeclausfund.org/storage/documents/Prince-Claus-Fund-Annual-Report-2022.pdf and https://princeclausfund.org/awardees/luis-manuel-otero-alcantara

[Photo above by María Matienzo Puerto.]

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