Free the Cuban Five!
‘From My Altitude’ art exhibit opens at USSF
Published Jun 30, 2010 5:33 PM
As a part of the U.S. Social Forum, the artwork of Antonio Guerrero, one of the
Cuban Five, was displayed in an exhibit called “From My Altitude.”
The Cuban Five are Antonio Guerrero, René González, Gerardo
Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Fernando González. They are
five Cuban men who, while fighting to protect Cuba from terrorism, were wrongly
convicted on espionage and conspiracy charges against the U.S. government. They
have been unjustly incarcerated in the United States since 1998.
WW photo: Megan Spencer
The exhibit, which is being shown through July 8, is located at the Virgil H.
Carr Cultural Arts Center in downtown Detroit. The opening of the exhibit on
June 23 was attended by 100 people and included food, live music, poetry and a
short film about the struggle of the Cuban Five featuring actor and activist
Danny Glover. In addition, several speakers offered thoughts about the event
and the struggle for justice for the Cuban Five.
Alicia Jrapko, the coordinator of the International Committee for the Freedom
of the Cuban Five, spoke about the injustices inflicted upon the Cuban Five and
called for increased support and activism for their liberation. The president
of the Virgil H. Carr Cultural Arts Center, Oliver Ragsdale, also spoke,
offering support for both the Cuban Five and Guerrero’s exhibit.
Cheryl LaBash of Detroit’s Justice for Cuba Coalition chaired the event,
which also heard solidarity remarks from Abayomi Azikiwe of the Michigan
Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice. T-shirts, books, DVDs and
artwork in support of justice for the Cuban Five were available at the
Guerrero began making art in 2003, after participating in a drawing class
taught by another prisoner. In his artwork, Guerrero uses a variety of artistic
media, including watercolor, acrylic paint, oil paint, airbrushing, pastel and
pencil. His artwork draws on a range of images and ideas, often reflecting a
love for nature and the struggle for justice.
The exhibit displays paintings of animals, including cats and birds and
landscapes of nature, showing mountains in Colorado (where Guerrero is
imprisoned), the ocean and beaches, as well as several nostalgic landscapes and
cityscapes in Cuba. Sketched portraits of the mothers of each of the Cuban Five
are also part of the display.
Guerrero’s artwork conveys a definite political and struggle-oriented
boldness, as evident in his multiple portraits of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara,
and Elián and Juan Miguel González. Despite being imprisoned,
Guerrero’s activism and work persists, in large part through the
traveling exhibition of his artwork and its inherent messages of appreciating
nature, struggle and liberation.
In addition to this event, several workshops focusing on freedom for political
prisoners in the U.S. were held during the Social Forum.
Spencer is a senior at Michigan State University and a revolutionary
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