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The Pablo Center in Havana’s 2019 Design Biennial

memoria libroGraphic design and the poster are natural components of the work done by the Pablo de la Torriente Brau Cultural Center, and two exhibitions presented in the 2019 Havana Design Biennial accentuate this reality.

Open through the month of June, the first exposition, at the Lugwig Foundation in Vedado, is included in the event’s global exhibition, under the title: Beyond forms.

In this space, the Pablo Center has fostered a journey through the role of design in all its cultural programs, practically a retrospective of the multiple styles manifested in works that now can be appreciated as a whole, with vibrant, coherent, and even provocative designs.

Víctor Casaus, poet, filmmaker, and director of the Center, shares his view of what can be seen at the Lugwig and what it represents for the Center, “For us it is very encouraging. For example, we see the posters of the ‘A guitarra limpia’contest, a project that has reached its 20th birthday; we pay homage to Héctor Villaverde, creator of the Center’s visual identity, the famous one of Pablo’s eyes; the logos of ‘A guitarra limpia,’ and digital art, and a collection of the posters that were made for the digital art halls; we have the original serigraphs there.

”The magnificent grouping of the posters has achieved a high level of communication and this is evident in those created for two of the Center’s very important projects: No to violence against women and in defense of the rights of children.

Not to be missed is the work of well-known designer Kelly Nunez for the contest on the Spanish Civil War and Pablo, a very beautiful piece, with a white background, and a feather descending from a red thread, ink or blood, Casaus notes.

But as already stated, design is to be seen in the Center’s entire program, and that is why we also included in the Ludwig exhibition books from Ediciones La Memoria, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. The twelve volumes of the Colección Palabras de Pabloare displayed, practically the complete works; the Memory Notebooks and art books of the Majadahonda Collection, with a larger format and beautiful designs by Villaverde and Katia Hernández.

The second exhibition is from the Sharing dreams/Compartiendo sueños project, and can be seen in one of the city’s a new spaces, Estudio 50, where 30 works by 15 designers from the United States and 15 Cubans are exhibited.Curator of the exhibition, Casaus recalled that the works “deal with the different themes that were chosen over the five years, for each edition. The general themes of life, war, love, culture, the guitar.” Each work is accompanied by a brief statement by the artist about his or her work or the subject, providing viewers more insight.

Let us recall that Sharing dreams/Compartiendo sueños was an attractive project undertaken by designers from the U.S. and Cuba to address a selected theme, between 2004-2008, sponsored by the Centro Pablo, the Cuban Pro-Gráfica Committee, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ Center for Cross Cultural Design.

The theme chosen for the first edition was precisely Compartiendo Sueños/Sharing Dreams; later, Dreams of Peace; Love conquers all; Design in culture; and lastly, Design in music, in which emphasis was placed on the guitar, as a tribute to the 10th anniversary of the Center’s ‘A Guitarra limpia’ project.

Thanks to this effort, 32 Cuban designers and 35 from the U.S. created 70 posters offering a wide-ranging, interesting panorama of views on the proposed themes.

Another of the Center’s characteristics that merits applause is its commitment to historical memory, the name given its publishing house. It is no surprise that a Memorias volume was prepared on Compartiendo Sueños/Sharing dreams, a compilation by Xenia Reloba documenting the entire project in a bilingual edition. The cover design is by Katia Hernández, based on the Jorge Ferret poster, Dreams of peace, for Sharing dreams 2005.

Two timely exhibitions of posters and designs for the Pablo Center’s programs and projects, to be admired as the promotion of ideas with beauty and imagination.

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