The 2000’s have witnessed a gradual process of healing for Cuban art when compared to the discouraging panorama of the 1990s, where the mass exodus of artists had an impact in a timely manner in the design and consolidation of national culture. Likewise, the artistic discourse of the 1980s, primarily framed in social research, went to other planes, in turn influenced by the market boom. The 21st century has brought a favorable wear on the boundaries between creators who were “badly looked” by having left the country, and today find space and time to bring to the island, their island, a symbolic production of recognition and transcendence to all levels . Others were luckier and the dialogue with cultural bodies never stopped flowing from the relevance of their work to budgets held by the country.
In this way we have the presence of Gertudis Rivalta in Villa Clara with the exhibition La medida de uno mismo, which was hosted by the Provincial Center of Visual Arts in the months of February-March this year. The outstanding artist has a very important work at international level but is hardly known for Cubans. She is graduated from the Higher Institute of Art (ISA by its Spanish acronym) in 1996 and has lived in Spain for several years. She gave to Cuban culture a sample that, in her words, she owed to Santa Clara, her homeland. Much time has passed since her last appearance in our galleries and the same has happened with several Cuban artists living outside the island. Invisibility has been a strategy to silence those creations that share a single label: Cuban roots.
Talking with Gertudis she said: “what happens then with a series of artists who have a speech that has not been studied? Aren’t we needed? How the hell are we going to be left over, if our work is working out? Why are not we used here?” It seems to be the great concern of the successful proliferation of Cuban art in the country and the varied ways of movement, as well as events happening, including the Biennial of Havana where such presence is missed at its central samples. Rivalta is right; our cultural institutions must take into account that foreign artistic flow in constant motion and focus on the approximation and visibility of those artists who are also Cuba.
The academies share this responsibility. Artistic education system, with its ups and downs, is working on knowledge and cultural influence. We must create mechanisms to bring to classrooms, workshops, and educational spaces, all those Cuban artists around the world with an interesting international permanence and completely absent among us because those are the sites where they were trained and began to draw their own way to the national art. We must expand the areas of research and investigation on the basis of inclusion and plan events from multiple approaches to gain in quality. It’s time to open the doors and cheering those who although far, are building their project to nation.