The Art Of Normalization: Cuban And Cuban-American Artists Huddle In Miami

Apr 28, 2016

Since the U.S. and Cuba normalized relations, we’ve seen a lot of dialogue between government officials and business executives. But what about artists?

Fifteen artists from Cuba are in Miami this week as part of a new exchange project called Dialogues in Cuban Art.

It’s organized by the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and Miami art curator Elizabeth Cerejido - and it’s brought Cuban and Cuban-American artists together to share not just styles but also ideas about the role art can play in this new era of U.S.-Cuba relations.

“Cuban artists take advantage of this new relation," says Sandra Ramos, a Cuban artist from Havana who often engages social and political themes. "We communicate and art flows from one place to other. It’s a way to share this culture, and we can have a much more open society.”

Cuban-American artist Emilio Perez agrees. Some of his art was recently exhibited in Cuba.

“I don’t see myself as a Cuban-American artist," says Perez. "I’m just an American artist, I was born here. But, you know, I do see things through the Cuban lens because it’s a huge part of my identity. So as things change it’s really important for me to be involved. I never thought I would ever see a work of mine in Cuba.”

The weeklong Dialogue - which included art tours of Miami neighborhoods like Little Havana and a symposium at the PAMM - ends Friday and is sponsored by the Knight Foundation and the Related Group.