Cuban Faces of 2015: Danilo Maldonado, ‘El Sexto’, Graffiti Artist / 14ymedio

Danilo Maldonado, 'The Sixth'
Danilo Maldonado, ‘El Sexto’

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 29 December 2015 — Irreverent and daring, the graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto (The Sixth)—in a satirical reference to the ‘Five Heroes’—organized a performance for Christmas 2014 under the title Animal Farm. In Havana’s Central Park the artist intended to release two pigs on which he had painted the names Fidel and Raul, but he was never able to carry out the action because he was arrested on the way there and imprisoned.

During the time he spent in prison, El Sexto managed to send out drawings and letters that visually narrated the rigors of incarceration and in which he ratified his decision to continue making rebellious art. A hunger strike, through which he demanded to be released, led him to the brink of losing his life and made his cause even more visible. Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience.

In mid-April of this year, 2015, this restless creator born in 1983 received the Vaclav Havel Award for Creative Dissent, in the midst of an intense international campaign demanding his immediate release which played out on the social networks with the hashtag #FreeElSexto.

In October of this year, El Sexto was released without ever having been brought to trial, and is now on an international tour.