Arts & Culture

Fondo de Arte Joven – Supporting Emerging Artists with New Exhibition Space

From the Hijos de Darwin exhibition. Photo: Claudio Peláez Sordo

Hijos de Darwin (Darwin’s Children) is the first group show that the Fondo de Arte Joven presents as part of its concrete actions to promote the work of emerging visual artists and to activate the Salón Blanco del Convento de San Francisco de Asís, in Havana, as a systematic exhibition space.

The visual arts exhibition “Hijos de Darwin” is an impressive show featuring works by a diverse group of emerging Cuban artists. It is based on the maxim that the individual who survives in a given environment is not necessarily the strongest, but the one who adapts to that context, which is related to the theory of the evolution of species coined by naturalist Charles Darwin. The exhibition presents a simplified interpretation of this theory, extrapolating the idea to the current field of visual arts in Cuba.

Works by artists such as Adrian Fernandez, Alejandro Gomez Cangas, Alex Hernandez and Ariamna Contino, Alfredo Sarabia, Daniel Rodriguez Collazo, Gabriel Cisneros, Gerardo Liranza, Jorge Otero, Lisandra Ramirez, Mabel Poblet, Rafael Villares, Roldan Lauzan, William Acosta and Yohy Suarez were presented.

Each artist has a unique interpretation of his or her life experience that influences his or her creations. This makes the exhibition interesting and diverse, with works of different styles and techniques that explore themes such as identity, femininity, nature, science, the city, and human relationships.

Together, the works in the “Hijos de Darwin” exhibition create a striking visual experience. What gives it unity and makes the show so special is that it presents works by emerging artists who have continued creating despite the extreme circumstances they face in Cuba, such as emigration, economic instability, and the uncertainty of choosing art as a livelihood.

The exhibition does not intend to legitimize watertight criteria but seeks to include many other Cuban creators who move inside and outside the island, with concerns and questions at the surface of their minds. “Hijos de Darwin” not only presents an interesting interpretation of the relationship between evolution and contemporary art but also raises some important dilemmas related to the career of an artist. One question raised by the exhibition is when an artist ceases to be young. Are emerging and young artists one and the same when considering the visual arts? Is it the author or the character of his or her work that falls under this criterion?

These questions are very relevant in the art world, where age and experience can be crucial for an artist’s career. The exhibition “Hijos de Darwin” seeks to answer these questions through the presentation of works by emerging Cuban artists who are at different stages of their careers.

However, beyond the works presented, the exhibition “Hijos de Darwin” is important because it fosters new spaces of action and visibility for artistic creation. The exhibition was mounted intending to create and foster these new spaces, and this is something that can be appreciated in every aspect: in its execution, the dedication of those involved, the joy of the artists and guests at the opening, and the expectations for future similar exhibitions.

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The exhibition is also important because it is the first group show presented by the Fondo de Arte Joven, as part of the actions for the launching of its work in visual arts. The Fondo de Arte Joven is an important initiative for the promotion of art and culture in Cuba, especially for the professional promotion of young artists and entrepreneurs.

The Fondo de Arte Joven platform is not only a good initiative to support emerging artists in Cuba but also a strategic management channel to articulate the cooperation of multiple donors and partners. Among them are already the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (COSUDE), the International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP), the Los Carbonell Foundation, the Habana Clásica Cultural Association (ACHC), and the Center for Exchange and Reference on Community Initiatives (CIERIC), with terms of reference inscribed in the project A Ritmo de Inclusión, financed by the European Union.

The exhibition “Hijos de Darwin” was inaugurated at the White Hall of the San Francisco de Asis Convent in Havana, a space that will systematically promote the work and creative processes of emerging artists, with the collaboration of the Los Carbonell Foundation / NG Art Gallery and the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana (OHC). The Fondo de Arte Joven is already organizing the new exhibition to be held at the White Room on May 26 as part of the actions for the centennial of the outstanding Cuban painter Servando Cabrera.

Ultimately, what can be said about the exhibition “Hijos de Darwin” is that it is an impressive show that presents works by emerging Cuban artists who express the relationship between the theory of evolution and adaptation with contemporary art. It also raises important questions about an artist’s career and seeks to foster new spaces of action and visibility for artistic creation. All in all, this exhibition is an excellent way to celebrate the launching of the Fondo de Arte Joven in visual arts and to promote the work and creative processes of emerging artists in Cuba.

All photos by the photographer Claudio Peláez Sordo.

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