Cultural Exchange in Cuba

April 2, 2004

SVA has initiated an historic exchange project with Taller Experimental de Grafica, Cuba’s foremost printmaking facility, in Havana. The Taller artists were shown documentary photographs of the 9/11 disaster at the World Trade Center, taken by Richard Falco. Two of Falco’s images were selected – one, vertical, showing the structural remains of the buildings; the other, horizontal, depicting rescue workers among the rubble. Gunars Prande, coordinator of printmaking for the BFA Fine Arts Department, converted the two original photographs into multiple large-size lithograph prints, making possible a true hand-to-hand collaboration. Working directly with these lithograph prints, the Cuban artists at Taller began printing on, painting on, cutting up, or otherwise manipulating and intervening with the prints to create new artworks expressing their personal reactions to these powerful images.

The participating artists represent a balance of established and emerging artists, young and older, whose work is considered to be of the highest standard in Cuba. One artist said he wants to “reconstruct” the buildings, “to put everything back together again,” and another that he “wants to make a better image for the world out of this horror.” The history-making project will result in an exhibition in Havana, to open on July 8 at the Jose Marti Memorial. The College is also considering future collaborations with the Taller and the possibility of bringing the exhibition to New York.

Image: Janette Brossard, Septiembre, 2004, Courtesy of Taller Experimental de Grafica.

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