Saturday, October 15, 2016

Cuba's Most Controversial Artist Is Running For President

Cuba's Most Controversial Artist Is Running For President
Masha (Maria) Koblykova — Oct 14 2016

Earlier today Tania Bruguera, a Cuban artist known for pushing the
boundaries of free speech in her performances, announced her candidacy
for the country's 2018 presidential election. She also encouraged Cuban
citizens to follow her example and submit their own names.

The self-proclaimed artivist made a video announcement during the
Creative Time Summit, a yearly conference about politics and art
happening in Washington DC.

"Let's take advantage of the 2018 elections to change the culture of
fear," Bruguera said in the beginning of her speech, which you can watch
below. "Let's take advantage of the 2018 elections to start thinking

Bruguera's proposal is a civic exercise in seeing what happens when
citizens assume maximum involvement in their political systems. "Let's
use 2018 to build a different Cuba. To build a Cuba where we are all in
charge, not only a few," she continued in her speech. "Today I will
start this exercise."

Bruguera has a history of support from non-Cubans like Anish Kapoor and
Howard Hodgkin, who were among the 14 who protested her arrest last year
for #YoTambienExija, a censorship protest-performance held amidst
negotiations to elimanate the US-Cuba embargo. Actions like this,
however, make her controversial inside Cuba. "As soon as you do
dissident art in Cuba, you are erased from our art history," she told
The Creators Project in an interview earlier this year. One example
is exiled Cuban artist Lázaro Saavedra's reaction to #YoTambienExija,
calling her arrest, "another point on her artistic curriculum rather
than a gain in terms of civil rights," in a blog post.

It's difficult to say how much traction Bruguera's candidacy will get in
her home country. Cuba is ranked among the 10 most-censored countries in
the world by the Committee to Protect Journalists, so today's
announcement will require a lot of effort to reach Cuban ears. If it
gets there, she'll still be up against some art institutions within the
country, including the National Mixed Media Arts Council, whose refusal
to support #YoTambienExija may have led to her arrest. On top of that,
Cuba's single-party system means that all the potential candidates are
chosen directly by the National Assembly, who have been reinstating
Fidel and Raúl Castro for decades.

Nevertheless, Bruguera is excited and tireless in her call to action for
Cubans to collectively test the limits of their political system by
running for president. "Let's start thinking, 'What if we actually had
that power? Who would we be? What would we do?' And that's what we'll
demand from those who are in power," she says in the final lines of her
speech. "I propose myself as a candidate for the 2018 elections. Propose


Learn more about Tania Bruguera's manifesto, politics, and art practice
on her website:

Source: Cuba's Most Controversial Artist Is Running For President | The
Creators Project -
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