Art, utility and skill
By Marita Porto
Artisans and artists from all over Cuba and Latin American guests are participating this December in the 15th International Crafts Fair (FIART for its Spanish acronym) in Havana. Under the motto Art, utility and skill, it provides an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy diversity and good taste.
Dedicated this time to the eastern province of Camagüey, known for the labyrinthine layout of its streets and its stately large clay water jars, Fiart have some 250 stands, 43 dedicated to Latin American countries, in which will display a large variety of utilitarian products such as furniture, shoes and textiles, among others, in addition to silversmithing and costume jewellery.
The organizers also announced collateral exhibitions, fashion shows, workshops and theoretical meetings about the development and marketing of Visual Arts and Handicrafts. Participation is also coming from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, México, Uruguay and Perú.
As a prelude to this annual event that takes place in Havana’s trade fair Pabexpo from December 8th to 18th, numerous Cuban provinces in recent months held their regional exhibitions to bring to the attention of the public the work of their artists and artisans.
Camagüey held its Ninth Provincial Exhibition of Handicrafts as a lead-up to Fiart 2011, with craftspersons and artists demonstrating how they work in metal, clay, wood and fabrics, while at the same time exhibiting works that represent the province in the Havana fair.
Meanwhile, in the central province of Sancti Spíritus – specifically known for its traditions in embroidery and textiles – a preamble to Fiart 2011 took place during which artists from various regions of the country put their work on display for the pleasure of anyone who loves crafts.
According to reports, among other representatives from Sancti Spíritus in Fiart are the project Needlework of Trinidad, Alicia María Suárez and her inked garments, the Sánchez Brothers with their aluminum furniture and the Santander family who have maintained a tradition of pottery.
Spokespersons from the Cuban Fund of Cultural Goods in the western province of Pinar del Río said that highlighted among their proposals for Fiart is the group of sculptures from the Pheidias Project, led by Petro Luaces. This project is already present in various parts of the country with its forceful work in both home and public spaces.
Santiago de Cuba, internationally known as the land of son (a genre of Cuban music), organized the First Exhibition of Utilitarian Crafts – including fashion shows and artistic workshops - on the occasion of Fiart and in greeting the thirteenth anniversary of the Cuban Association of Artisans and Artists.