This Thursday opening in Miami was the exposition by graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, known as “El Sexto” (The Sixth). There was a great deal of publicity and friends and colleagues joined the occasion. Maldonado plans to return to Havana in March and continue his activism and also resume his street art, which has made him the most famous underground artist on the island.
Outstanding among the pieces at the Market gallery in Miami Beach, the ‘performance’ art that cost Maldonado ten months in prison in a Havana park two pigs with the names Fidel and Raul painted on their sides.
Maldonado, age 32, based his planned performance on George Orwell’s ‘Animal farm” where the animals rise up against the farmer under the leadership fo the pigs.
Unlike what happened in Cuba, where the artist was arrested and pigs confiscated, on this occasion the animals walked around quietly in a restricted area while the crowds crowded around to take pictures of them.
From Valle Grande Prison ‘El Sexto’ not only continued with his artwork inside the prison, but also carried out two hunger strikes and brought out visual testimony of the overcrowding and bad conditions in Cuban prisons.
Ladies in White leader Berta Soler at the show. While he was behind bars, El Sexto also kept a kind of diary, when he wasn’t in isolation. The human rights organization Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience.
The strong social criticism and sarcastic messages that characterize the work of this young man are not at all appreciated by the Cuban authorities who interpret his work as a hostile act.
‘El Sexto’ is very critical of many Cuban artists on the island whom he considers “accomplices of Castroism” and be believes they work they do is “an art of lies” because “they aren’t capable of questioning the system.”
In the graffiti artist’s opinion, a great deal of the blame for the system that has come this far falls on the artists, who have helped to legitimate ex-president Fidel Castro and his brother Raul.
At the show the punk rock group Porno para Ricardo played several themes which mix the renegade feeling of their lyrics, civic protest and criticism of the repressive organs of the Cuban government.
The exhibition also included a showing of the film “The Life of Juanita Castro” – Fidel and Raul’s sister who has lived in the US since 1964.