On the heels of news that the U.S. will begin to ease relations with Cuba and controversy surrounding the detention of Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera, the Farber Foundation has announced the finalists for the first Cuban Art Awards. The awards, which are going to be given out biennially, are broken into two categories—the Cuban Artist of the Year (which comes with $10,000) and the Young Cuban Artist of the Year ($3,000), presented to an artist under 35. Selected by a jury of collectors, curators, and scholars, the winners will be announced in May.
The finalists, along with the jury’s comments, follow below:
2015 Cuban Artist of the Year
— Alexandre Arrechea, “for successfully demonstrating on an urban scale the cultural play implicit in his studio work. His level of creativity and recently ambitious projects are meritorious, carving a particular placement on the international contemporary art scene.”
— Luis Cruz Azaceta, “one of the most prolific, consistent artists. His works range from intimate drawings and monumental paintings, sculptures to intricate installations that convey the individual drama in contemporary global society. He has visualized with a critical eye a wide range of personal and social themes in his paintings.”
— Teresita Fernández. “Fernández has been steadfast in developing an artistic production that is innovative while being rooted in a highly formal and structural language. Her international presence, projection, and media attention have not overshadowed her Cuban roots, exposing the complexities of being an artist strongly invested in her personal history.”
— Glexis Novoa. “Since the late 1980s, Glexis Novoa produces art in many different media, including painting, performance, and installation. His artistic inquiry addresses the subliminal manipulation implicit in different ideological, religious, or financial systems.”
— Lázaro Saavedra. “Over a more than thirty-year career, Lazaro Saavedra’s work has been the most clever chronicle of Cuban everyday life. His solid and consequent path through art and pedagogy is charged with a thoughtful and sharp discourse, channeled always through the most efficient iconoclast language.”
2015 Young Cuban Artist of the Year
— Alejandro Campins, “a painter with masterly command who has revitalized painting in Cuban contemporary art, breaking with figurative traditions and sites that have weighed down much of this artistic movement. He handles both large and small-scale projects.”
— Celia y Yunior. “The duo create highly conceptual works that function as commentaries about social issues, particularly aimed at uncovering broader social and political systems. They use performance, video installations, interaction with community members and recordkeeping mechanisms as part of their artistic practice.”
— Elizabet Cerviño. “Her works exhibit extreme delicacy and poetry, both in painting and in open-air exhibitions that link nature and art history. She elegantly masters all stages of drawing, painting, installation.”
— Rafael Domenech. “His recent abstract work is a creative re-readying with a highly contemporary vision of 20th-century Russian Avant Garde constructivist ideals, in line with the Modernist vision developed later in Latin America. His artistic proposal stands out for its maturity and consistency.”
— Carlos Martiel. “Carlos Martiel is an emergent force in performance art. He exposes his body to often painful and painstaking processes to call attention to both personal and broader social issues. In the end, his performances have a lyrical quality that subverts the seemingly extreme ends he goes to in order to achieve his performative goals.”
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