EVERY year the Art on the Rampa formula is gradually perfected, combining families’ needs for homewears and personal items with a broad cultural program over the summer months.
The Fair, held in the Pabellón Cuba, located on La Rampa, a busy zone in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood, has become one of the city’s most popular attractions.
This year the summer festivities will continue through September 13. The Fair opened its doors on July 10 with a tribute to Juan Padrón, National Prize for Film winner, on the 45th anniversary of Elpidio Valdés, emblematic character of Cuban cinema and culture.
The inauguration was led by children’s theatre company La Colmenita, UNICEF Good Will Ambassador, directed by Carlos Alberto Cremata, with none other than screenings of Elpidio Valdés and a performance by Los Van Van on the Pabellón’s main stage.
Also unveiled was the exhibition En campaña de verano, featuring 30 stills of Elpidio Valdés, the main character of a long cartoon series and three feature length films by the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic ArtandIndustry(ICAIC).
To celebrate the character’s 45th anniversary, ICAIC Animation Studios announced a new episode, Elpidio ordena Misión Especial -premiered during the fair on August 13.
Meanwhile, the Cuban Fund of Cultural Goods (FCBC) presented novel utilitarian options, including ceramic jugs, postcards, decorative signs, key chains, notebooks and book markers, which depict scenes from the popular Elpidio Valdés – a big hit with children at the fair.
The FCBC is the principal organizer of Art on the Rampa and this year occupies over 50% of the fair space with 108 stands by 90 artisans from its catalogue, offering a variety of products (textiles, footwear, silver and wax works, natural and ceramic items and furniture) all of which have been well received by the public.
The Fair’s winning formula is based on its combination of products, audiovisual presentations, concerts, talks, visual arts expositions and numerous gastronomic offers.
The Video ARTex project, which began last year, has once again generated much interest. Created by directors Lisbet Ricardo Pupo and Rolando L. León, the project – making up the Arte en Casa product line – recreates works by various artists such as Roberto Fabelo, Zaida del Río, Alfredo Sosabravo and other important creators, which are displayed on everyday items such as coffee cups, umbrellas, shower curtains and various other household objects.
Audiovisuals by Ileana Mulet, Yasbel Pérez, Judit Vidal, Flora Fong, Alicia de la Campa and Zaida del Río have also been shown during this 16th edition of Art on the Rampa.
The Asociación Hermanos Saíz, based at the Pabellón Cuba, is organizing the fair’s varied cultural program taking place across several of the facility’s spaces and which despite the heat, attracts dozens of spectators.
For example in La Pérgola space, Marianela Dufflar, host of the program Por los caminos del arte, has already received and interviewed visual artists Ileana Mulet and Yasbel Pérez; the band Sexto Sentido; actresses Amada Morado, Irela Bravo and Coralita Veloz, and singers, Isis Flores and her group and Niurka Reyes.
Champions of folk music have also enjoyed their own space in Tardes de Repentismo, with performances by the groups of Maria Victoria and Polo Montañez.
Likewise, Jazz has its own area where host Rita Rosa has already received, among her guests, the phenomenal pianist Harold López Nussa.
Young trova singers have been allocated the Peña Tres Tazas, directed bySilvio Alejandro, who has welcomed figures such as Roly Berrio, Martha Campos, Ángel Quintero and Jade, among others.
In the evenings the main stage has played host to outstanding soloists and groups within the Cuban music scene such as: Polito Ibáñez, David and Ernesto Blanco and Arnaldo y su Talismán and the Habana Compás Dance Company.
The little ones are gifted with a special program which includes performances by artists from the Cuban National Circus and National Puppet Theater,children’s performing arts company Sueños y Fantasías, and clowns such as Ana Nora Calaza, Rollo and Los Casichiflados.
The ICAIC Animation Studios, in collaboration with the University of Computer Sciences, have released two new video games to purchase, La Chivichana and Súper Claria, the latter featuring music by Cuban duo Buena Fe, while record labels EGREM, Colibrí and Bis Music, presented various titles and audiovisuals for children featuring memorable songs from artists such as Enriqueta Almanza and Teresita Fernández interpreted by David Alvarez, Leoni Torres, and Kiki Corona.
For those in doubt, Art on the Rampa is one of summer’s most eagerly awaited attractions. As famous Brazilian singer Roberto Carlos said: a perfect match…the useful and the cultural.