There are just over two months until the 14th Havana Biennial of Fine Art is inaugurated on 21st November, celebrating freelance visual art specialists, and non-Western art in general. Read on and find out more about this fantastic exposition!
What is the Havana Biennial?
If you're not sure what "non-Western" art is or have never heard of the Havana Biennial then don't worry as we will try to give you the lowdown.
Havana Biennial has been described as one of the leading artistic cultural events in all of Latin America. Advertised as a decolonising space not only for artists, critics and curators from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, it is also for all those interested in a visual dialogue of coexistence.
The Havana Biennial was first established in 1984 and was initially dedicated solely to Latin American and Caribbean artists. Since the second Biennial in 1986, artists from Africa, Asia and the Middle East have also taken part. This tradition, which has remained during each of the subsequent editions, turned Havana into an important venue for the gathering of, and exhibition of non-Western art.
"Non-Western" art is categorised as any art object originating from the cultures and societies outside of the Western world. It's worth bearing in mind that arts of colonised areas of the world, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are considered Western art, the art produced by the native peoples of these countries is referred to as non-Western art.
At the Havana Biennials, traditionally, large pieces of contemporary non-Western art are left all around the city of Havana, so that everyone can enjoy the wide variety of visual expression.
What is the objective of the Havana Biennial?
The Havana Biennial has a noble objective - to promote ancestral wisdom through cultural art, helping to contribute a better understanding of contemporary problems and the preservation of life on the planet. Easily said, but how is this done?
"We believe that art and ethics combine their efforts where and when humanity demands, from the universality of richness and diversity of our cultures, and the extraordinary mix that characterises us. We know that for the achievement of our purposes it will be necessary to replant not only the forests, but also the soul, and that will only be achieved by redefining the concept of Humanism." - Consejo Nacional de las Artes Plasticas
How Havana's Biennial challenges "contemporariness"
Art has always been about expression, and the Havana Biennial is no different. Many important issues have been addressed by the artists over the years through their visual offerings.
They're issues we'd recognise in the Western world too. Common themes are problems like the existing tensions between tradition and modernity, challenging our views on historical empires and the colonisation of the "New Worlds", relationships between art and society, human communication in the face of technological development, and the dynamics of urban culture.
As you can see, people are addressing the same issues whether they're in Havana, Harare, or Harwell. Art really is global.
What's the programme?
The inauguration of the Havana Biennial is the 21st November 2021, and this year's 14th Biennial will change its usual structure and duration.
For the first time, it will last for almost six months during which experiences will be progressively added to the exhibition showing in detail the power of art and culture and its capacity to transform the present and future of our planet.
Experience 1: Preamble
November 12 - December 5, 2021
The first stage will begin with a theoretical panel that will bring together voices from different fields of thought who will analyse a critical investigation on the present, and attempt to search for new paths towards a more promising and inclusive future.
Experience 2: Havana of the Biennial
December 6, 2021 - March 24, 2022
During this second stage, Cuban art will have a leading place with a programme of exhibitions and presentations scattered throughout the city. There will also be special projects and collaborative workshops, some of which will be held outside Havana in other cities on the island.
Experience 3: Back to the Future
March 25 - April 30, 2022
This is an exhibition made up of various projects, which will subsequently be added to the two previous phases of the celebrations.
There's always a focus on paying special attention to the oft unheard voices of countries located outside the traditional centres of power, and the "Back to the Future" phase aims to harness wisdom from the past in order to plan a sustainable path towards a better future.
Cuba, finding its present and future...
Havana: city of art, architecture, beauty, music, and culture. This is just another reason to visit the magical island of Cuba this Autumn. Without a doubt, Havana Biennial is the best way to get in touch with the best that Cuban plastic artists have to offer the public.
Showing their pieces in the many open spaces of daily transit, in the main thoroughfares of the Cuban capital, definitely brings art to the lives of thousands of people and enriches their day.