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    An Introduction to the Havana Cultura Visual Arts Project

    The Havana Cultura Visual Arts Project was launched by Havana Club International S.A. in 2010 with the goal of formalizing the company's commitment to the development of Cuban visual arts. Havana Club has traditionally supported the Cuban contemporary art scene though its global platform for the promotion of Cuban creativity, Havana Cultura, and its involvement with the Havana Biennial. With the Havana Cultura Visual Arts Project, the brand goes a step further by setting up a formal and permanent support structure dedicated exclusively to visual arts with a threefold objective: Encouraging the production of contemporary art by young emerging Cuban artists through the granting of artistic scholarships; starting a corporate collection of Cuban contemporary art; and creating an exhaustive database of young Cuban art.

    The Havana Cultura Visual Arts Project is coordinated by Flora Fairbairn, independent curator and art adviser (UK); Sachie Hernández, independent curator and former director of the Center for the Development of Visual Arts (Cuba); and Yuneikys Villalonga, independent curator and lecturer (Cuba).

    Artistic scholarships

    Every year, the artist-in-residence program sponsors six projects belonging to any non-ephemeral genre: installation, sculpture, photography, video art, etc. Each project is allocated a production budget of up to 3.000 CUC ($3.000) and artists receive mentoring from a designated tutor for a six-month period. Up-and-coming foreign curators are invited to Havana to exchange with Havana Cultura Visual Arts Project bursaries during the last weeks of the residency. The expanding network of curators familiarized with the artists, the Visual Arts Project, and contemporary Cuban art in general contributes to raising the program's participants' profile internationally.

    To take part in the program, participants must be young professional artists living in Cuba with demonstrated potential and limited previous international exposure. Following this criteria, a jury of experts nominates a maximum of thirty candidates.

    Preselected artists are invited to submit a proposal for a work of art to be developed during the residency period. The jury makes a final selection taking into account the proposal's representativeness of the themes and explorations of Cuban contemporary art as well as its potential to impact the international art scene. Practical aspects such as the proposal's feasibility are also considered by the jury.

    The works resulting from the artistic residencies program will be displayed at exhibitions as well as national and international artistic venues. As a starting point, an exhibition at the Havana Club Museo del Ron coinciding with the 2012 Havana Biennial will showcase pieces produced during the first sessions of the Havana Cultura Visual Arts Project.

    Havana Club corporate collection of contemporary Cuban art

    In order to render contemporary art more accessible to the local Cuban audience and to encourage artistic creation, Havana Club will consider purchasing some of the pieces produced by Havana Cultura Visual Arts Project grantees during their residency period.

    An international Advisory Committee has been set up to counsel Havana Club in the decision making process. Its members are: Lázaro Saavedra, renowned Cuban visual artist and professor at Havana's Instituto Superior de Arte [Higher Institute of Arts]; Gilbert Brownstone, president of the Gilbert Brownstone Foundation (Paris), former director of the Picasso Museum (Antibes), and former head curator at the Musée d'art moderne de la Villes de Paris; Alessio Antoniolli, director of Gasworks and Triangle Arts Trust (London); Philippe Horeau, associate director of MC Saatchi (London); Flora Fairbairn, independent curator (London); Yves Schladenhaufen, marketing director at Havana Club International (Havana); François Renié, communications director at Havana Club International (Paris).

    Database of young Cuban artists

    The Havana Cultura Visual Arts Project comprises the creation of a database of young Cuban art that will serve as a reference for the general public and researchers alike. Artists that are preselected for each session of the residencies are automatically included in the catalogue. The members of the jury may also propose the names of other young artists to further enrich the database.

    Click on the following links to learn more about:

    · The selection jury

    · The artists and projects selected for the session 1 and session 2

    · Havana Cultura