My residency in January 2015, was the second time I had been to Havana. The first time I went, I wanted to see the sites, experience the space, and try to understand how to move about the streets. The second time I went I wanted to meet people and start producing artwork.
Having the opportunity to work with Unpack Studio was amazing. Unpack organized a talk at ISA Universidad de las Artes, and I was lucky to be able to do a presentation to curators of the Wifredo Lam Center, who produce the International Havana Biennal. Unpack introduced me to many artists that were working on similar ideas. To complete the work I wanted to do on issues ranging from economics, piracy and queer visibility, Unpack was also able to connect me with people that could help me out. Unpack Studio is truly a member of both the artistic community and the local community of Havana.
Havana is magical. I was trying to come up with a word to describe my experience, and ended with magical. It was at times complicated and hard to understand, a little scary, but always wondrous. It is very different from my home in Toronto. One has to forego the amenities that you may know, and embrace the amenities that Havana has, from being close with the neighbours, to hearing roosters crow all day, to wandering the Malecón sea wall, to the magic of the grocery store and trying to understand daily life as en la luchita.
Having just returned I am also ready to go back. I have work to finish, artists that I will be working with and opportunities to show in Cuba. I have started to learn how to speak Spanish.
Visual & Media Arts Officer at the Toronto Arts Council