Eduardo Roca (Choco), Cojido con presilla
Courtesy Latin Art Space

Earlier this month, Cuban art world saluted some of its distinguished longtime members—and a few emerging voices—with this year’s national prizes in the visual arts and curatorship, and the Guy Cisneros prizes for art criticism.

Eduardo Roca (Choco)
Courtesy Artemorfosis

Visual Arts Award. The 2017 Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas was awarded to Eduardo Roca Salazar, known as “Choco.” A master of the collographic print as well as a painter and sculptor, Choco trained at the Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA) and the University of Havana.

His early awards and recognition included the Premio de Grabado in the National Youth Salon for Visual Arts in Havana, 1977, and the medal of honor in the Graphic Salon, Bulgaria, in 1982. In Cuba, he was recognized in 1995 with the Orden por la Cultura Nacional.

The Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas generally includes a solo exhibition presented at or by the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana.

Eduardo Roca (Choco) receiving the 2017 Premio Nacional
Photo: Adalys Pérez Suarez, courtesy Periodico Cubarte

CuratorshipThe 2017 national prize was awarded to Meira Marrero and Concha Fontenla for El silencio de Duchamp, presented late last year at Factoría Habana.

Meira Marrero, center, and Concha Fontenla, right, receive the 2017 Premio Nacional for curatorship for the exhibition El silencio de Duchamp.
Photo: Alexis Rodríguez, courtesy Habana Radio

El silencio de Duchamp is a discreet ‘whisper’ with an essentially balanced intent,” wrote Marrero in an email to Cuban Art News, “pointing towards the neurological center of Duchamp’s attention: language, its uses, abuses and disuses. It is the first part in a trilogy that, from an art-historical perspective, ponders the paths of those who have consciously devoted themselves to the art of thinking and directing the ‘traffic’ of information in one way or another–not better or worse, but different. After all, art is the ideal tool for creating new platforms and dismantling the walls that surround ideas.

A view of the exhibition El silencio de Duchamp
Photo: Ariamna Contino, courtesy the artist

Artists in the exhibition included Humberto Díaz, Eduardo Ponjuán, Elio Rodríguez, and Ariamna Contino and Alex Hernández, among many others.

From El silencio de Duchamp: Ricardo G. Elias, from series The Blind, 1999
Courtesy Factoría Habana

The three jurors for curatorship were Corina Matamoros, Hilda María Rodríguez, and Chrislie Pérez. In addition to El silencio de Duchamp, they also singled out for mention Sonique, a sound-art exhibition curated by Yarisley Medina Abreu (LeyMa); Memorias. Grabado 80’ 90’, a group show curated by Lisset and Lisandra Yllañez; and Herbaria, a show of Cuban and Puerto Rican artists at the Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales (CDAV) curated by Guillermo Rodríguez and Caridad Blanco.

At the opening of the exhibition Sonique in Havana earlier this year.

The jury also recommended that Zona de juego, an interactive exhibition for toddlers curated by Yanisel Osuna and Yanisley Rodríguez, be included in the national exhibition circuit.

No curator’s prize was awarded this year in the category of solo exhibition. The jurors did give a mention to Todos los mundos de Bachs, a show about graphic designer Eduardo Muños Bachs—whose posters are currently on view in theHollywood in Havana show in LA—curated by Sara Vega and Fabián Muñoz.

Art criticism. In the Essay category, the winner of this year’s Guy Pérez Cisneros prize is Nahela Hechavarría Pouymiró for La ficción y la memoria (estrategias para penetrar el context). In making the award, jurors Margarita Mateo, Magaly Espinoza, and Erick González cited Pouymiró’s profound approach to reading the history embedded in contemporary Cuban art.

Nahela Hechavarría Pouymiró, winner of the 2017 Premio Guy Pérez Cisneros in the essay category.
Courtesy La Jiribilla

The Guy Pérez Cisneros prize for art review was shared by Luis Enrique Padrón for Pecio para una travesía aplazada, and Laura Magela Garcés for Coitus reservatus.

Born in 1980, Pouymiró has been an adjunct professor of art history at the University of Havana since 2004. She is curator of visual art at Casa de las Américas and chief editor of its online magazine Arteamérica.

Padrón and Garcés are even younger. Born in 1992, Padrón teaches at the University of Havana, and works with Galería Habana. Garcés is associated with Galería Servando.

Lissette Solórzano receives the award for photography from the president and vice president of the 11th Florence Biennale, Pascuale and Piero Celona.
Courtesy Lissette Solárzono

And a photography award in Italy. Last month, the 2017 Florence Biennial awarded its “Premio Lorenzo il Magnifico” in 12 visual arts categories. Congratulations to Lissette Solórzanowinner in the Photography category. Solórzano won for two works in her 2005 Malecón series: Hombre al agua… and El Santero.

Lissette Solórzano, El Santero
Courtesy Jenkins Johnson Gallery