Some Post-Biennale Exhibitions in Havana

By Niels Reyes

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva

HAVANA TIMES — The hectic days of Havana’s Arts Biennale are behind us and a deep silence has taken hold of the Cuban art world. The eagerness to see contemporary pieces, the dreams of selling artworks and establishing contacts with foreign galleries, the gatherings with international guest artists, the proliferations of open studios and joint or solo exhibitions….all of this has come to an end.

To mitigate this silence, some artists have decided to stage personal exhibitions (of different calibers). I should mention that this courageous gesture was also partially prompted by each gallery’s obligation to fulfil its annual exhibition commitments.

That said, in these hot summer months, the Cuban public now has the opportunity to see some art at important galleries around the city.

I’ve forgotten the order in which they were inaugurated, but that is of no importance, as all will be on display throughout August, so there’s time to see them all.

Expo by Adonis Ferro

In my opinion, one of the more attractive exhibitions is the one by the octogenarian artist Pedro de Oraa (1931), who, with the second part to Contrarios Compementarios (“Complementary Contraries”), an exhibition staged at Havana’s Villa Manuela gallery, attests to the joy his art brings him.

Next in line is Niels Reyes (1977), one of the more renowned artists of the Cuban painting boom of recent times. On this occasion, Niels does not titillate us as much as in previous shows, as rather unbalanced pieces and the need to take new risks somewhat eclipse the exhibition opened at Cuba’s National Library.

Adonis Ferro (1986), who, like Niels, started his visual arts career as a painter, is another artist holding an exhibition this month. For some time, his work has moved beyond painting, as evidenced by La espina del Diablo (“The Devil’s Thorn”), the exhibition currently housed by the Servando Cabrera gallery.

From the showing by Pedro de Oraa

There, the public may see all of the documentation of the performance carried on July 11 at the gallery, combining obscure rituals and grieving characters of somber charisma.

Lastly, the youngest of the artists, Osy Milian (1992) brings us Eridani, staged in Playa’s sophisticated gallery Artis 18. The exhibition, comprised of a restless proliferation of images, produces a strangely disquieting feeling, confusing and saturating the viewer. The quality of the drawings, however, is deserving of highlight.

These are the post-Biennale exhibitions currently being staged in Havana, and I recommend paying them a visit, perhaps simply to see whether contemporary art only enters the scene during important events or whether it stems from grander purposes.