14ymedio, Sol Garcia Basulto, Camaguey, 17 February 2017 – With a predominance of mixed techniques and recycled materials, Camaguey artists hide the shortage of raw materials in the City Salon show. The art show opened on 2 February and will run until the first days of March in the Provincial Fine Arts Center.
The event began with a contest in which 32 artists participated with more than 40 works, among which the wide presence of younger artists stands out. The members of the Camagüey Provincial Arts Center presented the prizes a few days after the opening.
Many of the works show a nonchalant character and the authors have had to deploy a greater imagination to supply the missing resources
The winner of the Grand Prize was video artist Hamlet Armas Perez, 27, who explained to 14ymedio the difficulty of “creating art right now in Camagüey” because of the lack of materials.
Many of the works show a nonchalant character and the authors have had to deploy greater imagination to supply the missing resources, since the Cuban Cultural Property Fund, the largest supplier of materials in the province, has stopped supplying art products.
This situation is suffered in particular by painters, says Armas Pérez, although video art makers also have “difficulties in finding resources.”
Kevis, a young graduate of the School of Art Instructors who could not finish his work in time for the exhibition, laments the high prices of materials, as well as the complexity of finding them. “I’m paying for a tube of white oil now 5 Cuban convertible pesos (roughly $5 US) on the street,” he protests.
“Some of the education and culture warehouses keep materials for more than 20 years.” Those are the resources that are circulating in the province according to Kevis. “The tubes of oil are sometimes hard and you have to put them in hot water to make them soft.”
Angel González Fariñas, director of the gallery, thinks that the predominance of mixed techniques is more related to “the authors’ instinct for experimentation” and takes for granted the “lack of materials especially in the prints and mountings.”
The artist Jorge Luis Pulido Álvarez, who won the Salon’s third prize and three collateral prizes with the trilogy In the habitat of my art, says that his work was done with mixed technique and that in spite of the shortages “the artists overcome these difficulties with the passion they feel.”
Lewis was unable to present his work because he could not get the mounting that he needed: a frame and glass
Lewis, an art instructor in the visual arts, said that he could not present his work at the event because he could not get the mounting that his work needed: a frame and glass. Lacking the necessary resources to dedicate himself to painting has pushed him to dedicate himself to drawing.
Another artist who has abandoned painting, in his case for a better remunerated technique — carpentry — is Pedro. This former professor at the School of Art Instructors says that he has dedicated himself to making coatracks and shoe racks because “you have to eat.”
However, despite the adversities, the organizers of the show have managed to maintain a high standard.
The curator and critic Pavel Alejandro Barrios Sosa sums up his perception of the work of the artists: “Art for art’s sake, the amusement of the artist, quotes, versions, allusions, the relationship between culture and popular expression, between the national and the universal.”