Artist: Eduardo Pon Juan and Rene Francisco
Confronting Bodies: Cuban Ministry of Culture
Date of Action: August 1989
Specific Location: Cuba
Description of Artwork: "Suicide" by Pon Juan-Francisco was one of the works targeted in the exhibition. "Against a crudely painted green background enclosed within a green wood frame shaped like a tombstone, shards of broken mirror form a mosaic of Castro's profile. The revolutionary leader's head rises like a sail from an image, also of mirror fragments, of the 'Granma' yacht (the pleasure boat on which Castro and his followers arrived in Cuba to launch the revolution); the word 'Suicida' is spelled out in an arc above Fidel. " The artists' point was that attacking Fidel was synonymous with suicide.
Description of Incident: The team of Eduardo Pon Juan and Rene Francisco created several works depicting Fidel Castro for an exhibition at Castillo de la Fuerza. The exhibition was closed after five days by the Ministry of Culture. Many of the works depicting Fidel Castro were never allowed in the exhibition.
Results of Incident: Vice-minister Marcia Leseca was fired for her support of the artists. The censorship of this show and another show "Homage to Hans Haacke" marked a turning point in the lives of Cuban artists living on the island. They are encouraged now to leave the country. Many artists today live in Mexico, France, Spain, Belgium and the U.S.
Source: Testing the Limits", by Jay Murphy. "Art in America", October 1992, p.65-69.
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