Cuban artist says she was censored at Miami’s Art Basel when she held up a ‘Che was a killer’ sign

As a form of performance art, artist Ana Olema held up a sign exposing the truth about Che Guevara at her art display at Miami’s Art Basel Sunday and immediately began receiving threats.

Via CubaNet (my translation):

Ana Olema denounces censorship at Miami’s Art Basel

Cuban artist and dissident Ana Olema was censored when she attempted to carry out an art performance on Sunday at Miami’s Art Basel. Beginning on December 1, her and other Cuban artists were displaying their works during the Week of Art,

On December 4, the last day of the exposition, Olema “decided to do a little more, to do some performance activism,” which consisted of wearing a t-shirt with the image of Ernesto “Che” Guevara crossed out and to hold up several protest signs.

The censorship began when the artist held up a sign that said: “Che was a killer.” Several people came up to her and, in English, threatened to call authorities, alleging that what she was doing “was offensive to those around her.”

“We have endured a truly sad situation […] In not so many words, what happened was that I was censored” despite the fact she was doing it “peacefully, within the space of my art display,” the artist, who is exiled in the U.S., said in a video she posted on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Claudia Genlui, an art curator and the girlfriend of art activist Luis Manuel Oetero Alcantara, said on the same video that it reminded her of all the censorship she suffered in Cuba.

“I have relived all those sensations of frustration and impotence when I saw Ana Olema being censored in her performance. Today, Ana Olema has been censored and in fact threatened that authorities would be called simply for holding up a sign,” said Genlui.

Nevertheless, she added that “we have felt that art has strength because if a group of people attempted to censor us, other people, be they Cubans or not Cubans, went there to learn about the reality of Cuba and about Ana. It was therefore worth it”

2 thoughts on “Cuban artist says she was censored at Miami’s Art Basel when she held up a ‘Che was a killer’ sign”

  1. Offensive to those around her? To whom, exactly? What if someone had done or shown something in praise of Che? Would that have been shot down for being offensive, as it obviously would have been in Miami, or would it have been defended as freedom of speech? Whoever acted to censor Olema, especially if it was in any official capacity, should be identified and confronted. Alas, even though that should be the job of the Miami Herald people, I’m hardly holding my breath.

  2. Assuming the story (which the local professional press should absolutely investigate) is accurate, the (at least technically) Cuban Jorge Pérez, for whom Miami’s chief art museum is named, should publicly speak out on the matter, obviously to condemn it unambiguously. Will it happen? I wouldn’t bet on it.

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