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Seis Artistas, Dos Ciudades (Six Artists, Two Cities)

Date: June 03, 2010
Location: Visual Arts Development Center, Havana, Cuba

The exhibition in Cuba, Seis Artistas, Dos Ciudades (Six Artists, Two Cities) at the Visual Arts Development Center, Havana, May 14th to June 14th, included Three Cuban and Three Canadian Artists; Eduardo Ponjuan, Ana Olema, and Tonel, Jade Yumang, Robyn Laba and myself, Phillip McCrum.

Tonel and I started to work on this exhibition three years ago with a simple idea to bring artists together whose work we liked and who represented, perhaps, different generations but whose practice employed, similar strategies, and/or sensibilities to material and content. We have been very pleased with the result.

(Images of the exhibition can be seen at http://6artists2cities.com)

The support from the curator, Sachie Hernandez and staff at the Visual Arts Development Center was amazing, from negotiating the visas, getting the work into the country, to installing the work in a very hot and humid environment. We had lots of attention and Tonel and I made it on to Cuban Television and the opening was very well attended with more than 300 people present on opening night, and many positive comments made by people in the days following at studio visits and openings.

Once back in Toronto I opened Keesic Douglas’s (red)man exhibition. This was an exhibition running in conjunction with the Contact photo festival, (http://scotiabankcontactphoto.com/open-exhibitions/69) in a space in downtown Toronto, the Soho Lobby Galley, (http://www.soholobbygallery.com) located in a condo/hotel complex in the so called entertainment district. I have been organizing exhibitions there for the last three years and they have include Manuel Pina, Barrie Jones, Christine D'Onofrio, and this year Keesic Douglas who will be graduating from our MFA program this fall. The contact festival has been around for a while in Toronto. It’s a month long festival with hundreds of cultural spaces involved, with seminars and tours and panels throughout May. Keesic’s opening was well attended and we were pleased to have a visit from Sara Diamond, president of OCAD who was quite excited about the space and its use as a venue for Vancouver Photographers. We are always on the verge of closing down as it takes a lot of volunteer work from everyone so a few words of encouragement goes a long way. It looks like we will try it again next year.

Phil McCrum

Image: Lenin ¿Qué hacer?
Lenin, What is to be done?
by Tonel 
Oil on canvas and polychrome cast object
79" x 79" x 10"

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