El Sexto With Somos+ / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

Danilo Maldonado, El Sexto, with members of Somos+ (We are more). (14ymedio)
Danilo Maldonado, El Sexto (the tall one in the center), with members of Somos+ (We are more). (14ymedio)

14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 6 November 2015 — On Thursday a roof in Havana’s Cerro district was a suitable space for a group of young people to have a meeting with the graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, El Sexto (The Sixth). Perhaps because neither the artist nor the members of the Somos+ Movement (We Are More) are given to extreme formalities, it is inappropriate to call what took place a tribute. But in fact, it was.

Danilo was given an anthology of messages of support from many parts of the world, sent during the almost ten months he spent in prison for attempting to stage a performance that angered the Cuban authorities and in particular the political police. The displays of affection came into his hands, the shouts of joy for his release, and the words of encouragement that filled the social networks during his imprisonment.

The coordinators of the young political movement, which is currently holding its third and expanded National Council, invited the artist to relate his experiences in prison. Numerous questions about his artistic action and about his days of confinement allowed El Sexto to demonstrate that he is something more than a “smearer of walls,” as his detractors from the official side call him, but rather someone with artistic sensibility and political will.

Asked about his hunger strike undertaken to secure his release, Maldonado drew with words the most recent of his artistic strokes, which today I want to share with you:

“As people we all occupy a physical space and I believe the most important thing is to make a scratch on this time line in the space we have occupied. I have always had the conviction that I was doing something right. I cold die, but I consoled myself knowing that if this happened I would be remembered, My jailers told they were going to let me die and I responded to them that my death would be different from theirs, because my family and friends would remember me.”