A collective with soul
Cuba, an island that rests less than 50 miles off the coast of the US, is so near in proximity and so far in accessibility. Americans are rarely allowed to visit and the Communist government in Cuba has left it scarce. While this surely poses a challenge for many of those that live there, it has also opened up a wealth of creativity, one that shines through in the vibrant artistic community of Havana. Since the people can’t afford to throw things out, they are forced to be “green” long before the word became mainstream: reduce, re-use, recycle. This makes for fascinating work. The internationally shown artists in the Cuba-based collective Los Carpinteros, or The Carpenters, explore and understand their country through their multi-media art. They work together as one unit, yet they each have their individual roles and tasks. And most importantly, they embody many of the traits that are inherent in Cuban art, namely the innovativeness and the sense of use and re-use. This interview was conducted in Cuba with members of the collective.