Today President Obama is in Havana during a historic visit to Cuba. He’s the first sitting U.S. president in 88 years to visit the country. The trip marks a significant step for diplomatic relations between two nations long cut off from one another. But what does it mean for the creative community? We're hoping it represents a significant step forward for art and culture.
Throughout decades of cultural isolation, artists in Cuba have been restricted by laws limiting freedom of expression — a human right core to creativity, art, and a vibrant, healthy culture.
Cuban artist Tania Bruguera has experienced the constraints of those laws firsthand. Two years ago she tried to stage a performance in Havana’s Revolution Square welcoming citizens to speak freely in public for one minute. In a free society, taking a moment to speak freely in public may not seem revolutionary. But it was an artistic act that led to her detainment and the confiscation of her passport by the government.
Tania took that experience of disempowerment and is transforming it into something incredibly powerful. She recently launched a project on Kickstarter to create the Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt — an arts institute that will fight political oppression and champion free speech. If she’s successful, it has the potential to help unlock the creativity of generations of artists and thinkers across an entire culture.
Freedom of expression is a value many of us take for granted, but not everyone enjoys. We believe deeply in the power of art to transform the world for the better and support a future where artists and creators all over the world can express themselves freely. We’re thrilled Tania has decided to bring her idea to life on Kickstarter, and a community of hundreds have already stepped up to pledge their support. Today we’re excited to stand with that community fighting for freedom of expression by backing Tania’s project as an organization. We hope you’ll stand with us, too.