HAVANA TIMES – Cuban artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara has appeared on Time’s recently published list, of its 100 Most Influential People in 2021. The list is made up of five categories: Pioneer, Leader, Titan, Artist and Icon, and it features people who have contributed to transforming the political and cultural climate around them.
Otero appears among the top ten names, with Icon status at Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei’s recommendation, who describes him as a “symbol and a leader.”
Weiwei refers to the San Isidro Movement as “an influential group of artists and intellectuals who demand greater freedoms as anti-government protests spread across the country this summer.”
Otero has been held prisoner since July 11th, in a maximum-security prison in Guanajay, without a court hearing. There are rumors that he is currently sick with COVID-19. The Chinese artist said that “his [Otero’s] life, behavior and expression as a whole are so powerful that they can resist the aesthetic and ethical degeneration of authoritarianism.”
“Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara’s art, his unignorable fight for freedom of expression and his uncompromising stance against autocracy reveal the power of resistance,” he adds.
Luis Manuel has also been recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International and now Ai Weiwei is highlighting his bravery in the tireless struggle he has initiated with his artivism: “Art needs courage, which he has repeatedly demonstrated. Its aesthetics need a solid philosophical background and a strong sense of ethics, and this, too, he has shown. It is through such struggles for free expression that art transcends the condition of banality and mediocracy.”