Museum of Fine Arts of Havana refuses to remove works by critical artists

HAVANA, May 29 (EFE)  The National Museum of Fine Arts of Cuba denied the request of a group of renowned contemporary artists of the country

who demand to hide or remove their works exhibited there in protest against what they consider “kidnapping” of the authorities to a known dissident and creator.

“The Museum does not accept a demand that does not agree with the vocation of service of our institution, nor with the interest of the public to whom it is due,” the institution said in a statement.

The Museum of Fine Arts, which is temporarily closed to the public due to the pandemic, assures that it has used funds from the state budget to acquire works by Cuban creators of all generations and trends, including those of rebellious artists.

He argues that he gives these works “a legitimate and beneficial use for the public” and that “no situation outside the museum field can pretend to violate this museological procedure.”

The Fine Arts note responds to the demand of a group of renowned contemporary Cuban artists, including Tomás Sánchez, Marco Castillo (former member of Los Carpinteros) and Tania Bruguera.

An initial group of eight signatories were added more throughout the week to a total of 24 artists, as well as the Amelia Peláez Foundation, which by letter requires the Museum to cover their works exhibited in the permanent and temporary exhibition rooms. , and remove them from your web page.

They also raised three demands: the release of opposition artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara – declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International -, access to his relatives to check his health, and the elimination of the “police fence” to which the Government submits him.

According to Eloy Viera, a lawyer consulted by Efe, Cuban legislation does not include the right of withdrawal and there is no jurisprudence in a case like this, so it would be difficult for the authors to set the precedent to achieve the concealment or withdrawal of their works from the Museum.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, 33, was admitted to the Calixto García hospital in Havana on May 2 after a week on hunger strike, and since then he has been held incommunicado without being able to make phone calls, connect to the internet or receive visits from his partner and friends.

The artists’ collective has been in recent months the most rebellious against the Cuban government, which they accuse of not respecting freedom of expression and silencing critical voices with repressive tactics such as police surveillance, acts of repudiation, arbitrary detentions and house arrests. without having committed any crime.

The Cuban government, for its part, considers critical artists to be “mercenaries” paid by the US government to subvert order on the island. EFE