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July 11, 2021 it was the day when Cuban people all over the island went to the streets in protest. For the first time they demanded apart from bread and a right to decent life, the regime to step down. The dictatorship responded with massive machine of repression. A lot of people had been detained, and later imprisoned. Among them artists from independent movements like San Isidro or 27N. Artists, writers and activists had been the target of repression as for many years before the protests they  demanded the freedom to express themselves and spoke out against the government. This time they became the target for even thinking about what change on the island could look like.

Many were taken into custody during the mass protests, and later were incarcerated. The artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara is in prison for 2 years, 2 months and 18 days….

Hamlet Lavastida was incarcerated by state security forces for 3 months for what was just a thought crime.  Lester Alvarez, Camila Lobón, and other artists featured in our collection were targeted, forced to stay in their homes or interrogated by the state security for long hours every day. There are plenty of methods of repression Cuban regime uses against its people.

We present the artworks of those artists who through their art and  directly speak about Cuba and life under the dictatorship. The artworks that tell the story of Cuba not as a country of happy and colorful people, but the history of 60 yearlong dictatorship that deprives people of the most valuable thing in a human’s life: freedom. Regimes, no matter the ideology, work with the same methods everywhere. It  is always violence: psychological and physical.

After the anti-government demonstrations in July 2021 Cuba experienced the largest outflow of Cubans from the island in the history. Cubans try to live their lives in exile, and they try to find their place without denying their Cuban identity.  “Exile without the right to return maintains in a human a sense of physical and psychological oppression. Man has no place and no natural space. Only memory remains,” says Hamlet Lavastida. Our collection is this memory.



Photo: Hamlet Lavastida, an exhibition Vida Profilactica 2020

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