Mayito - Liudmila & Nelson
Expocuba is where foreign delegations are brought to admire Cuba’s industrial and agricultural innovations (official slogan: "Let’s help them discover Cuba"). But Mario Miguel González, more commonly known as Mayito, had other plans for this convention center in the south of Havana. He gave 110 Cuban artists a theme — "flags" — and then brought their work to Expocuba during the Havana Biennial. Crisis, as Mayito calls the exhibition, features all kinds of flags — painted, sculptural, virtual. At least one of them is bipedal: performance artist Nadia Porras can be found strolling around the exhibition hall and posing for photos dressed head-to-toe in Cuba’s national colors. We spotted one American flag, one French flag and a flag of the Milky Way, but a large majority of the artists took the Cuban flag as their starting point. We asked Mayito, — who contributed his own flag ("La Bandera del Arte Cubano") and was darting around taking care of exhibition business — to point out his personal favorites. Among these is a painting by Cuban novelist Pedro Juan Gutiérrez entitled "Bandera de la Republica Democrática de Centro Habana" (Flag of the Democratic Republic of Centro Habana). Centro Habana is, of course, where Gutiérrez resides and where most of his novels are set. "It’s a very dangerous place," as the novelist says, "and so is this flag, because it can cut you."