HomeInfoHistoryThemeOpinionsArtistsExhibit tour
deutschespañolHavana Art Scene
6th Biennial of Havana
Theme: Individual and Memory


At the threshold ot the twenty-first century it is evident that economic and social models tested during recent times have been unable to avoid the shattering of notions about progress, civilizations, welfare, society and culture. This process has become critical in the so-called Third World in particular, as well as in some Third World enclaves in industrialized countries. It has dramatically revealed the inability of many governments to meet the growing needs, both material and spiritual, of the individual and the community. The power of economic structures leaves just a narrow margin of operation for traditional political forces. In fact, in recent years, multinational corporations have taken up the role not only of local governments but even that of regional and worldwide organizations as well.

As a response to this manifest situation, in both highly industrialized countries and in the so called developing countries - for the crisis affects all societies - an emphasis on individualism has risen. The present is perceived as the only physical and spiritual space man can imagine and make real.

For many people, one of the most serious problems man has had to cope with during this second half of the century is the loss of memory used as a point of reference to act upon society in order to change and improve it. A sort ot amnesia is promoted as a means of avoiding the main problems. The traditional questions such as: where do we come from? who are we? what is our fate? seem to have lost all validity in a world which is alienated by a vague notion of future. To live in contemporary society means coping with a present full of violence, drug addiction, discrimination and intolerance leading towards a future of privation and uncertainty.

Memory, the place where man has traditionaly found the roots ot his own identity, is being threatened by the homogenization of an image, designed and projected by mass media and communication multinationals which attempt to make universal those paradigms created in the centers of power. The most sophisticated means of contemporary technology are used to advocate for the so called »internationalization«, one of their most recent creations is Internet, which is far out of reach for developing countries, since they are not able to feed these media with their own information.

Even within this context, memory is able to forge identity and to build up dignity and sense of belonging, either by going into a recent personal, family or communal history, or by looking into the culture to which the individual feels attached as a member of a spiritual community.

Art as an expression of the human condition, has not yielded to the pressures and hostility of economic and political structures already restricting the spaces for action and freedom. Today, it is encouraging to observe signs of a legitimate creative quest which attempts to place man in the center ot the world's issues.

For the upcoming Biennial it is the aim of the Centro Wifredo Lam to promote a reflection on the relationship between man and memory as a means to defend identity. The Sixth Biennial of Havana will receive artists who appeal to their memory registers as a way of preventing the destruction of their social and human identity. Some of them portray the loss of identity as observers or witnesses to this destruction, while the work of others reflects their own suffering. Still others who are facing this struggle defend themselves by looking back to their roots and rescuing the historical memory which in the Third World is the memory of unsolved conflicts, a past that is still part of the present.

(From a text published in English by the Wifredo Lam Center)

Home    Info    History    Theme    Opinions    Artists    Exhibit tour

Havana Art Scene

©  Universes in Universe - Pat Binder, Gerhard Haupt.  Email