Cuba is for Culture: The Kennedy Center’s “Artes de Cuba” Festival, Hamilton Live and Submarino Amarillo

by Chris Murray on April 24, 2018

Starting May 8th, The Kennedy Center is presenting a festival of Cuban music, dance, theatre, film, fashion and design.  Grammy Award winners Los Van Van, the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Arturo O’Farril, Yissy Garcia, and the Afro-Cuban Sextet are among the 50 events being featured in the Kennedy Center’s festival of Cuban culture, Artes de Cuba: From the Island to the World.  This festival will be a great opportunity to enjoy the brilliant creativity of a variety of Cuban artists.

Hamilton Live is also presenting this Thursday, April 26th, the brilliant Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca.  Born in Havana, Fonseca was part of the touring Buena Vista Social Club.  Fonseca is considered to be one of the most innovative Cuban pianists in generations, with a sound at the crossroads of jazz, traditional music, and soul, steeped in a spirituality faithful to his Afro-Cuban roots.  This will be a great gig.

On Monday, The New York Times reported that it was “extraordinary to see last week how many women and Afro-Cubans were chosen for positions in the highest echelon of Cuban politics in the new government: Half of the six vice presidents of the ruling Council of State are black, including the first vice president, and three are also women.  The new council will serve under the new president, Miguel Díaz-Canal, who took over on Thursday.”

Govinda Gallery’s Claire Hines with Guille Vilar at Submarino Amarillo.

It was my great pleasure and honor to sit with the new President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel and his wife in Havana last November at the Cuban rock club, Submarino Amarillo, where Cuba’s great classical pianist Frank Fernández performed with the Cuban rock band Sweet Lizzie Project.  My dear friend Guille Vilar made arrangements for me to attend, as I was in Havana picking up Ted Russell’s photographs of Bob Dylan that had just been exhibited at Fototeca de Cuba, Cuba’s national photo gallery.  The collaboration between Frank Fernández and the Sweet Lizzie Project was wonderful, and it was terrific to meet Mr. Díaz-Canel and his wife, Lis Cuesta, at this extraordinary concert.  Govinda Gallery has organized five exhibitions in Cuba.  Govinda Gallery’s partnership with Fototeca de Cuba has been a truly exciting collaboration.

Walter Iooss, Havana, 1999.

It was an historic occasion when President Obama and a bipartisan group of senators and congress traveled to Cuba just two years ago and normalized relations with our Caribbean neighbors.  I had the good fortune to attend the baseball game  with the delegation from the U.S. between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team on   March 22nd, 2016.  Havana is one of the most cultural and dynamic cities in the world.  A visit to Cuba is well worth it for the beauty of the island, its people and its extraordinary culture.

Here are a few of the photographers from Cuba we have exhibited and represent at Govinda Gallery.

Osvaldo SalasCon Hemingway, 1960.

Cirenaica Moreira, Bandera, from the series “Ojos que te vieron ir,” 1994-96.

Mario Díaz, 1980, Cuba.

Liudmila and NelsonAbsolut Revolution, 2002.

José A. Figueroa, Vedado, La Habana, 1992.

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