Yanelys Nunez Leyva
HAVANA TIMES — Organizing a raffle in Cuba or, better yet, in Havana, presumes a high level of enthusiasm.
It’s not easy to convince a diverse public who aren’t openly familiar with gambling or with the adrenaline of a bettor. This, despite the numbers game, a private lottery, being one of the most regular hidden practices of many Cubans. Doing so could turn into a difficult and exhausting experiment.
When artists Luis Manuel Otero and Nestor Sire conspired to organize the piece “With everyone and for the wellbeing of a few” (August, 2017), they didn’t really give this subject too much thought, maybe they were very confident in themselves.
Having the chance to stay a night at the Kempinski Manzana Grand Hotel, should have been enough to push the sale of 250 tickets at 2 CUC each.
It sounds easy: 250 tickets, 2 CUC; but residents in Havana are suspicious and the idea of a possible scam is always in the cards.
However, while watching how tickets were sold and the logistics of the experiment, I came across different positive moments when various friends bought several tickets, without any desire to win the prize but just to support the project. And that’s because the essence of the raffle was always been connected to this energy. The artists wanted to carry out a collective action which would drive towards accomplishing an objective.
Another important moment was when, on the day of the drawing, the game’s participants and exhibition attendees came together at an independent gallery, in a festive mood; a diverse group of people, some of whom were completely cut off from the art world.
Leandro Fonseca, a young 18 year old man who was a member of the latter group, ended up being the winner.
He could choose the day he wanted to go. Which wasn’t too long after as, even though his first choice to go was unsuccessful – the swimming pool at the 5* plus hotel was experiencing technical problems the Saturday after the raffle – Leandro was able to enjoy his night at the Manzana Hotel on August 8th.
Taking part in a project of wide appeal like this one, which has been conceived for leisure, helped me to understand a little about how to create real ties between art and an audience who know very little or nothing about art.
And I believe that one of its greatest results is that it planted a little seed of trust in both those who took part and those who abstained out of suspicion. And it took place in a country, where we are riddled with paranoia and fear.