Posts Tagged ‘Cuba’

Man-made borders

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

One year ago I met an extraordinary person. His brief visit to my city coincided with the moment I had decided to shave my head. Visually we made a remarkable pair.

We weren’t fluent in a common language but the connection was intuitive and I don’t remember communication being too much of a barrier. When you must speak Spanish, you just do. His country is reported to be reforming laws, making it easier for its citizens to travel abroad. My country tells me if I travel to his, I face “civil penalties and criminal prosecution upon return.”

What astounding barriers can interfere with the possibility of two people meeting each other. And yet, it happens.

Luis y Dani bajo una luz de néon.

Illegal poetry?

Friday, May 28th, 2010

So much happened since I last posted, it has left me at times without words, but now I’ll find them.

Front door of 59Rivoli on May 15, 2010

On my birthday, les Omnis arrived in Paris. Beautiful coincidence.

Poets, artists, musicians.
From Cuba, on a European tour.
An extension of their Festival de Poesia Sin Fin.

Friends of my friend Sara Roumette (journalist who spent much time in Cuba), it was arranged that they use my studio at 59 rue de Rivoli for one of their performances because the gallery was occupied by Ruban Vert. The magic of photo studios, you can transform them into anything you want. I was thrilled to be useful.

Amaury standing on his head, in the pot that he wears there, which reads in Spanish, 'this is not a casserole.'

From the moment Nilo, Amaury and Luis Eligio walked in (a 4th member didn’t get permission to leave Cuba), I could see these people were awake, alive, excited, participating in life with full hearts. They’ve worked together for 15 years, have friends all around the world and connect directly, hands-on. People so open are a strong contrast in Paris.

Luis Eligio, makes eye-contact with everyone, after each piece of clothing that he takes off on the sidewalk in front of 59.

Amaury and Nilo wrap Luis in Cuban newspapers so that he can barely move...

...nor talk, nor see

Performance continues upstairs with projections, poetry, music.

Amaury and Nilo

That evening after their performance it took us three hours to walk just over two miles. Everything was new for them, and their interaction with it was energizing for us.

After Paris, they went to Barcelona and there the trip was cut short. Papers. Bureaucracy. A premature return to Cuba. If that wasn’t disappointing enough, they just sent out an email with recent news. When they arrived in Havanna they were “randomly” searched (all three of them) and all of their belongings were confiscated : disk drives, computers, memory cards, cameras, poems, paintings, all images from their tour, all of their work and private correspondence. For 30 days their belongings will be held hostage.

Poets, artists, strip-searched and held for six hours. For what? For thinking differently? For behaving as free-thinkers? For inspiring people in Amsterdam, Denmark, Prague, Paris and Barcelona?

Thousands of kilometers away, this leaves me feeling helpless.

' ' Libres ' '