Again a Spanish man laid his eyes on Havana. Eight years ago he came from the old continent to live and work in this island where not only business retained him. Luciano Mendez, representative in Cuba of a Spanish bank, got seduced in such a way by Cuban art that he has become an avid collector; however, this is not a selfish love, because he shares with the Cuban public some of his pieces.
¨Once artistas cubanos de hoy ¨ (Eleven current Cuban artists) is an exhibition that occupies these days the upper floor of Servando Cabrera Moreno Library Museum and it shows different viewpoints, styles and techniques representative of the Cuban contemporary vision. So, with this initiative, beyond valuing his collection, he is offering us the opportunity to see good art, that for Luciano, cannot be confined within the four walls of a house, so he has decided to show his personal collection into successive exhibitions in Havana and this first experience comes, for many reasons, like a magnificent omen for the whole project.
The exhibition, which was originally located at the José Martí Memorial, includes five Cuban National Plastic Arts awards: Manuel Mendive, Roberto Fabelo, Pedro Pablo Oliva, Alfredo Sosabravo and Nelson Dominguez, who share space with Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho), Ernesto Rancaño, Enrique Camejo, Juan Roberto Diago, Rigoberto Mena and Carlos Quintana. This show stands out for the undisputed quality of the works, but it also offer the possibility of rediscover pieces that are part of unforgettable series for the lovers of Cuban plastic art, including ¨ Alegrías y tristezas del Malecón,¨ by Pedro Pablo Oliva or ¨No somos animales,¨ by Roberto Fabelo. They both deserved the National Plastic Arts award. The very fact of existing is already a virtue of this show, because it oxygenates a tradition of collecting that, although began in Cuba around the forties of the last century, has been reborn in the last decade, but in most cases abroad . But … this sample has opened a door that will hopefully encourage many to cross it, sharing a heritage that, according to Luciano "it belongs to the people, it can have an owner, but it needs to leave the house and being exposed, it needs to be shared, it´s not fair to enclose it .’’
This could then be a new impulse to the trend that occurs in the world where private and institutional collections share stages, always for the good of art, while them complement each other and contribute to enrich the cultural heritage of a country or of an entire era. The decision to share these works specifically with the Cuban public is especially significant, mainly due to its accessibility, and for preferring us instead of taking them to exhibition spaces worldwide. A tour of this sample offers reasons to praise it: the presence of essential themes in Cuban art, the national perspective, explicit in matters forming part of our identity: the ballet, the Malecon seawall, insularity, and Afro-Cuban tradition, testify a curatorial work done from the involvement with reality where these artists live and create.
We thank, of course, the presence of representative works of the immediate endeavor of their creators, in fact, them all belong to the last decade and many were included in the most recent personal exhibitions of some of them. Sobriety and elegance honor this catalog, according to its designer, R10, that intend to "get in tune with the gesture of Luciano and give the absolute role to art "as well as the photographs by Roberto Chile, one of the architects of the sample, who contributed with photos as faithful as possible to the spirit of the works and the "imaginary museography " of José Veigas´ texts, from which, he offers us, with the exact words, a hand to get into this fortunate journey through a segment of Cuban art.
Luciano has promised this experience will not be the last, so we look forward for new opportunities to enjoy more Cuban art and for the upcoming compilation book. Meanwhile, the invitation to come to the Servando Cabrera Library Museum remains for you to enjoy an exhibition essentially conceived under a sublime curatorial criterion: love for Cuba and its art.