The Havana Biennial

The Havana Biennial
The Havana Biennial

General Information about the Havana Biennial

The Havana Biennial is a cultural event of contemporary art that takes place in Havana since 1984. This great artistic meeting is organized and conducted by the Center for Contemporary Arts called “Wifredo Lam” and takes place on the premises of its headquarters – the Counts of Peñalver colonial house, a building of the eighteenth century declared a World Heritage Site – and other cultural venues such as the Spanish-American Cultural Center, the Center for Development of Visual Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts in its Universal Arts Building and the Superior Institute of Art, etc. The exhibition includes works by artists from different countries under a curatorial approach that has traditionally focused on Latin American issues and the Third World.

Major Issues on the Havana Biennial

The first Havana Biennial edition took place in 1984 and consisted of artists from Latin America and the Caribbean and focused on issues such as tradition and modernity, challenges, art, society and thought, man and his memory, live art and urban life. The works of artists included works made with a variety of techniques and trends such as photography, video art, installations and performances. Since the second edition, in 1986, the focus was expanded including artists from Africa and Asia, also establishing the Biennial itself as a meeting place for “non-Western” artists. In more recent such as the 10th edition this great event had the theme “Integration and Resistance in the Era of Globalization” and took place from March 27th to April 30th, 2009, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the event. In addition to the exhibition of arts, lectures, classes and workshops, screenings of documentaries and other activities were included. The issues discussed by artists included the relationship between tradition and contemporary reality, challenges to the historical processes of colonization, the relationship between art and society, individuals and their memories, the effects of technological development on human communication and the dynamics of urban culture. The 2012 edition, under the theme “Artistic Practices and Social Imaginary”, brought together more than 115 artists from 43 countries, with representations of contemporary art from Mexico, Guatemala, Spain, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and Panama, among others. For the 12th edition to be held in 2015 the theme is “Between the Idea and the Experience” a journey through the history of the biennial itself.

Major Artists of the Havana Biennial

There are numerous national and international renowned artists who have participated in the Havana Biennial, among them Antoni Muntadas, Marta Palau Bosch, León Ferrari, Liliana Porter, Marco Maggi, Nelson Ramos, Luis Camnitzer, Andrea Goic, Tania Bruguera, José Bedia, Rubén Alpízar Quintana, Nicholas Hlobo, among others.

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