Cubans Adrian Lopez Gonzalez, Geandy Pavon, Waldo Perez Cino and David Virelles Win the Cintas Scholarship

The Grupo Matiz de restauradores, whose founder, Adrián López González (on the right), has won one of the Cintas 2021 scholarships. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 15 December 221 — For the first time, the Cintas Foundation has recognized with its annual scholarship, endowed with $20,000, a Cuban resident on the Island, Adrián López González. Founder and leader of the Grupo Matiz de restauradores (Matiz Restoration Group0 in Matanzas, he was the recipient of the award in the architecture and design category.

Matiz was created in 2014 and among the restoration and conservation works that it has undertaken, most notable are those of the Sauto Theater and of the San Carlos de Borromeo Cathedral, in Matanzas. For this group, the award “is the impulse to a work sustained in a city that dreams its best face, our Matanzas.”

“The story behind the Heritage is our foundation and the Cintas scholarship has been the luck to know that we are doing well,” they wrote on their networks after hearing the news.

In addition to López González, the writer Waldo Pérez Cino, the musician David Virelles and the artist Geandy Pavón have received past Cintas scholarships, which is awarded to artists of Cuban origin in different artistic fields.

Pavón, who lives in New Jersey, says that this award has a “very special” meaning for him. “I believe that Cintas is the only award to Cuban artists that is offered in total and absolute freedom,” he told 14ymedio. “In Cuba there are other awards,” he continued, “but all are always subject to ‘good behavior’.”

The artist is also thankful that the award, “opens up immense opportunities” and exposes both him and his work to “other people, other institutions and specialists in the field of culture and art.”

“It makes me think that what has been done has not been so bad and it is an immense stimulus, apart from being an important economic stimulus to continue doing my work,” said Pavón, who, during the covid pandemic, launched on his social networks an ingenious photographic series entitled Quarantine: 40 days and 40 nights, in which he recreated, together with his partner, Imara López, scenes from classics in art history.

For the writer Waldo Pérez Cino, the scholarship is “a great joy and a great honor.” The latter, he points out to this newspaper, taking into account that “in recent decades the Cintas Foundation has recognized the work of authors such as Cabrera Infante, Reinaldo Arenas, Benítez Rojo and García Vega, along with contemporary authors such as Magali Alabau, Octavio Armand and Carlos A. Aguilera, speaking only about the field of writing.”

“As far as I know, there is no other institution that has been supportive in this way, and with that continuity, of the development of proposals by Cuban artists or authors,” says Pérez Cino, who lives in the Netherlands. In his case, he says, it will serve to support a novel which he has been working on for a long time, “one of those projects that extend more than one would sometimes like and that, precisely because of their breadth, are sometimes overlooked for others more immediate or urgent.”

Among the finalists of Cintas are the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who competed in the visual arts category, and who has been in prison since the protests on July 11.

Art curator Claudia Genlui thanked, on behalf of Otero Alcántara, “all the people who made possible his presence in the nomination for the Cintas scholarship… Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and the political prisoners in Cuba will not be forgotten. We continue working for a Cuba where we can create and work in freedom. Enough censorship for Cuban art and artists that are consistent with our reality,” she stated.

The Cintas Foundation was created with funds from the patrimony of Óscar B. Cintas (1887-1957), Cuban ambassador to the United States and patron of the arts, and has been awarded since 1963. The finalists of the contest are chosen by a jury of experts who enjoy international recognition.

In the last 50 years, this contest has honored the achievements of great Cuban artists in different categories such as Félix González-Torres, Teresita Fernández, Carmen Herrera, María Martínez-Cañas, Oscar Hijuelos, Andrés Duany, María Elena Fornes and Tania León. After receiving the award, the scholarship recipients become part of the Cintas Collection by donating one of their works to the Foundation.


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