Cuba Culture

Cuban erotic art displayed at gallery in Havana

Posted March 16, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Culture.

Communist Cuba might be known for its prudery but a gallery here has opened for the 11th year running an erotic art show with concerts, awards, pornography talks and some stirring exhibits.

The beginning of a series of events, the erotic art on display will travel all over town till April 9, reports the Prensa Latina news agency.

Eroticismīs main goal is pleasure, says the catalogue of the 11th Salon of Erotic Art at the Fayad Jamis gallery. Gallery director Magdalena Rivas says erotic art is often poorly interpreted and her goal was to reveal its true diversity and social dimension.

The opening was a happening in itself, with a short concert by Cuban guitarist Rafael Valdivia. The gallery was packed and people were craning into the windows like voyeurs, trying to peep into the eroticised space.

Self-taught Jesus Lazaro took first place this year in the awards ceremony with a piece called “Orgasm” and, although well-painted, it was more suggestive of an abstract expressionist exhibit.

Adriana Arronte got lucky with second prize, well-deserved for her subtle and sophisticated messages that were very appropriate for this show.

Although only 25 years old, Arronte has definitely been around the block and describes her current work as “exhaustive, banal, neurotic and fascinating”. Her goal? No less than the “deconstruction of Machiavellian motivation.”

She admits to being a fan of Cindy Sherman and Andres Serrano and in this award-winning piece teases viewers with images of hard candy, vaginal ovules and chewing gum.

By uniting the frivolous with the sophisticated, she creates anxious pleasure and confused identity, so relevant in contemporary sexuality.

Fair is fair and that is probably why this yearīs jury, composed of members from local fine arts academies and galleries, did not select Nadal Antelmo as salon hero once again, although for his piece “Bueno y Malo” he certainly could have deserved it.

The 36-year-old photographer from Varadero says the images were not his most serious, like the crotch shots he once took under a steel deck bridge to be hung on a hotel gallery ceiling, but they still work like a charm.

Reeking with ambiguity, they are about “making decisions,” he says, the exquisitely crafted images of menīs and womenīs feet interlaced with text, pubic hair and intimate views in a perfectly balanced triptych.

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