Beyond The Frame
Campaign News | Friday, 13 April 2012
by Carole Regan
Beyond The Frame, a major exhibition and sale of Cuban contemporary art, opens in London on April 23.
The event, hosted by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, will be one of the most prestigious exhibitions of contemporary Cuban art ever held in Britain.
Alongside the Cuban work by 26 painters, 20 leading artists from Britain and Ireland will be showing.
All of the artwork has been generously donated in support of the goal of the exhibition -to raise awareness about the injustices of the case of the Miami Five and at the centre of the exhibition artwork by two of the Miami Five will be on show.
The Miami Five - Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez - were arrested in the US in 1998, accused of "conspiracy to commit espionage."
Although Rene Gonzalez was recently released he has been forced to remain in the US away from his family to serve three years probation.
The Five were unjustly convicted and sentenced to long prison terms, three of them for life.
In fact, they were not spying on the US government but were in Miami to infiltrate and monitor terrorist groups that had attacked Cuba from Florida.
Two of the Five who are exhibiting in Beyond the Frame, Gerardo Hernandez and Antonio Guerrero, have taken up artistic pursuits while in prison.
Hernandez has produced a large collection of amusing, sharp, biting cartoons and Guerrero has developed into an accomplished artist whose stunning watercolours of the native birds and butterflies of Cuba have travelled the world, bringing attention to the Five's struggle for justice.
The families of the Five have welcomed the exhibition and Hernandez says the exhibition "will be an important contribution to our struggle for justice."
The show is also backed by Cuba's National Assembly which sees it as an important step in trying to break into new areas to raise the campaign for justice for the Five.
Broad support in Britain is reflected in an impressive list of patrons, sponsors and volunteers who are promoting Beyond the Frame.
In Scotland, Glasgow City Council is a major donor as the city is twinned with Havana.
Susan Hillier, who had a major solo exhibition at Tate Britain last year, says she's "delighted" to be taking part because in addition to being an an art exhibition "it's a fund-raising event for five imprisoned Cuban men accused of terrorism, who did not receive fair trials in my home town Miami."
Four members of the families of the Miami Five and three exhibiting Cuban artists will attend the exhibition.
The three include Lesbia Vent Dumois, whose work hangs in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, and who is a founder member of the National Union of Writers and Artists and has represented Cuba on numerous international cultural bodies.
Eduardo Roco Salazar - "Choco" - another internationally renowned artist will simultaneously be featured in an exhibition opening in Boston, US.
The third artist is Gustavo Diaz Sosa, a young artist presently working in Madrid.
He first travelled to San Sebastian in Spain to take up an art residency he was awarded.
There will be opportunities to hear the artists and discuss their work at seminars and meetings in Essex, Manchester, York and Edinburgh, as well as at the evening events on most nights at the galleries in London and Glasgow.
Organisers of the exhibition are appealing for support for the exhibition and all the donated artwork is for sale with proceeds going to the campaign for justice for the Miami Five.
An electronic sales brochure is available on request for prospective buyers.
Full details are at www.cubabeyondtheframe.com Cuba Solidarity Campaign (0208) 800-0155.
The exhibition opens at Gallery 27 in Cork Street on April 23 before moving to the Lighthouse Gallery in Glasgow on May 7.