HAVANA TIMES — The image that Fidel Castro and his closest watchmen in the Cuban government wanted to avoid at his funeral, is now part of the artistic reality of a famous fair in Hong Kong.
A sculpture of Fidel Castro’s corpse (or sleeping body?), lying on a bed of white sheets in his olive-green uniform, is part of the Summit project by Chinese artist Shen Shaomin, who has recreated the images of other Communist leaders who are now history: Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, Kim Il-Sung and Ho Chi Minh.
These leaders of yesteryear now lie in a Summit of Silence at the crowded Art Basel fair in Hong Kong.
An international wake
Or maybe it’s an opportunity to hold a wake “with the body present” which the Cuban people in Cuba didn’t see.
Shaomin, who lives in Australia, has formulated his project with questions looking to the future: “At a time when the entire world is drawn towards the vortex of economic crisis and doubts have arisen about the inherent values of capitalism, this work asks the following questions: are the ideas and ideals of these disappeared Socialist leaders still relevant? Will their ideas, concepts and theories reflect our sensibilities some day?”
The exhibition will remain open to the public on March 23-25th. On Monday and Tuesday, these works could only be visited by those with private invitations or special assignments.
It will be a virtual way of imagining what Fidel Castro’s funeral, which never took place, would have been like.
When the announcement of Fidel Castro’s death had been made on the night of November 25th, his brother and president of Cuba, Raul Castro, announced that he would be immediately cremated as it was his dying wish. The cremation took place immediately.
Cubans paid tribute to the former leader in front of a photo of Castro dressed as a guerrilla soldier with a rifle on his shoulder, while his ashes remained in an urn in a State Council room, which family members and selected people from the government elite had access to, until they traveled in a funeral car across the country.
Fidel Castro’s ashes were finally buried in the Santa Ifigenia cementery in Santiago de Cuba, next to the monument to national hero Jose Marti.
There aren’t any photographs or witness accounts saying they’ve seen Castro’s corpse, who apparently died at his home in Punto Cero, Havana.