El Sexto, Between Paints and Searches / Miguel Iturria Savon
Posted on June 27, 2013
Tall like a pine and genuine in his desire to express himself through
art that is ephemeral and challenging, describes the young Cuban
graffiti artist, Danilo Maldonado Machado — alias El Sexto (The Sixth) —
who does not smile at the spring greenery nor the excess of tropical
light, despite a love for the colorful trees and ocean breezes that cool
the bustling night on the streets of Havana, the city whose walls are
the objects his paints, as explicit and allegorical as the reality that
he tries to capture with spray paint.
It's not that El Sexto wants to beautify this bittersweet city that
defies moisture and time and official apathy. More than embellish, his
nocturnal murals call the attention of the bored capital pedestrians,
accustomed to looking without seeing or listening without hearing in the
midst of violence and the helplessness generated by the servility and
cowardice induced by the despotism of the State.
And so he has problems with the political police and the other police,
who control the order and carry out the order to arrest him on the
public street for having a spray can in one of his pockets and later
they made a search of his house and seized his works and painting
supplies as well as fining him a thousand pesos without specifying the
crime he committed.
In a short video shot by photographer Claudio Fuentes, El Sexto refuses
to pay the fine because "I would demonstrate that I'm doing something
wrong, that being an artist is a criminal act." And he says: "I prefer
to force the courts to make a judgment for me to demonstrate how and why
I'm doing harm."
We hope that Danilo Maldonado Machado, whose pseudonym satirizes the
demented political campaign of the Castro regime to free to Five Spies
convicted in the United States, comes out well in this new police hunt,
one among so many detentions and searches to dissuade him from his
"disturbing" street art.
For those who wish to know the urban odyssey of this Havana artists who
exercises freedom of expression without permission, I suggest you go to
his blog, located in the Vocescubanas.com portal, where there is the
video made by Claudio Fuentes. You can also read the enlightening
article from the writer Ernesto Santana Zaldivar, who recreated the last
fight of Sexto against the police and legal harassment on this island of
automatons dressed as functionaries and of intellectuals vaccinated
against common sense.
In my case, I can attest to the personal, artist, and solidarity value
of this tall boy who draws, with banned spray cans, stars and satiric
cocks and naive and frightened faces. I met him several times at the
house of Yoani Sanchez — famous author of the blog Generation Y — and at
the residence of the physicist Antonio Rodiles, leader of the virtual
program Estado de Sats; in addition to attending and commenting on for
Cubanet the Exhibition put on by El Sexto in the apartment of the singer
Gorki Aguila, on October 29, 2011. I brought to Spain the sheet that
Danilo Maldonado Machado painted on my floor in Central Havana, days
before we caught the plane to freedom. El Sexto converted this sheet
into a protest my being held in police custody that is a testimony to
denouncing and friendship.
21 June 2013
Source: "El Sexto, Between Paints and Searches / Miguel Iturria Savon |
Translating Cuba" -