“Hecho en Tránsito / Made in Transit: A U.S. - Cuban Art Exchange and Intercultural Dialogue”
is a project designed to foster intercultural dialogue between U.S. and Cuban artists primarily through the exchange and collaborative creation of artwork. The result is an experiment in visual dialogue sustained across time, place, cultural differences, and political transitions.
Given the accelerated changes between the U.S. and Cuba relations in recent years, the project is focused on broadening an intercultural dialogue between artists as well as viewers. What happens when artists who come from such different worlds encounter one another through art? How does access to information and materials in the U.S. and the constraint and lack in Cuba affect making art? What does a dialogue look like without words?
The project is inspired by the Surrealist "exquisite corpse" game in which artists work on a single artwork. A mixture of emerging and mid-career artists, four U.S. and four Cuban artists were selected based on the strength of their overall body of work as well as a willingness to engage in a long-term collaborative project and sustained dialogue with other artists. Their work represents a variety of formal and conceptual interests. The curator has paired them off and collected a piece of art from each of the artists. Over the course of 12-18 months, the artist pairs will work on each other’s work, with the curator transporting the artworks to and from the artists. The pieces are swapped four times over the course of the project, approximately every 4-5 months.
Each pair of artists is given a brief introduction to each other’s overall work and about the specific piece they have donated to the project. They also determine the parameters of their collaboration and the extent of verbal communication they wish to. However, since none of the American artists speak Spanish nor do the Cuban artists speak English, communication primarily occurs through the creative process, rather than through language.
The project has a tentative exhibition space in 2017 at the Instituto Superior del Arte, the national arts school in Havana, and is seeking a venue in NYC that is open to its experimental nature. The exhibition will include the final pieces and photographs of the progressive steps the artists took as they worked on the pieces over the year+, and other related documentation. Ideally, the exhibition will also be an opportunity to host a variety of related events, eg., panel discussions and/or artists talk about building cross-cultural awareness through the art-making process, a workshop for other artists and/or viewers to collaborate on work together.
U.S. artists: Doug Beube, Laurel Farrin, Christopher K. Ho, Travis LeRoy Southworth
Cuban artists: Rigoberto Diaz Martinez, Lizandra Rodriguez, Lisbet Roldan, Aylen Russinyol