No artistic freedom in Cuba? Really (Havana artist sets up ‘haven for free speech’, 11 April)? Thanks to its rigorous arts education system, free to students including at graduate level, Cuba has a diverse and brilliant cultural life which engages with the wide spectrum of social and political issues in the country. Anyone who has visited the island will know that. The fact is that support for the arts would make educators in the UK weep with envy. Cuba has brought the world outstanding music (Chucho Valdés, Gente de Zona, X Alfonso), challenging film-makers (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Fernando Pérez, Pavel Giroud) and groundbreaking visual artists (Kcho, Lázaro Saavedra, René Francisco).
It is simply not credible that this artistic flowering is the product of “57 years of cultural repression”. This October, London will host an exhibition, ¡Presente! Contemporary Art from Cuba, to showcase their vibrant visual arts scene. Some of the 30 artists involved will also be here to discuss artistic creativity on the island at a range of associated public events.
Professor Helen Colley
Dr Doreen Weppler-Grogan
¡Presente! exhibition coordinating team
Although I hear that a collage, or a song, praising the merits of bourgeois democracy, or free markets, might not get quite so much, umm, support. You know, freedom for the artist to say what they want to say rather than freedom to say what should be said?