Novo Anniversary Collection exhibit opening
Date: September 20 2012 6:00pm Location: “The Best Art Gallery in Portland,” at 1468 NE Alberta St
Reynier Leyva Novo, the only Cuban artist chosen to exhibit at the Latin American pavilion of the prestigious 54th Venice Biennial, is coming to Portland. His exhibit of the Novo Anniversary Collection, a series of silkscreen posters and t-shirts that reflects on political propaganda in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution will open this Thursday at “The Best Art Gallery in Portland” on Alberta street.
In April, two Portland residents, Napoleon Landaeta and Elliott Young, were in Havana to work with artists in advance of the Havana Biennial. Young, who teaches Latin American history at Lewis & Clark College, led a group of art students to Havana on a project they designed called “Sobre el Muro.” The students were interested encouraging artistic collaboration between the two countries by working with artists on the “Detrás del Muro” (Behind the Wall) exhibit that was being organized as part of the 11th Havana Biennial. Landaeta and Young met Novo who complained about the difficulty of producing t-shirts and posters in Cuba, and especially about the difficulty of reaching a US audience given the economic embargo. They agreed to produce the Novo Anniversary Collection in Portland. Thus was born Novo Designs (novo-designs.com).
As Young put it, “This is Cuban art made in Portland. It’s the best of globalization and also buying local.” Proceeds from the art go to the artist. Novo explained why he decided to work on this project. “This arrangement opens up a whole new audience for my work, and Portland has just the right kind of young, hip, and cosmopolitan who can really appreciate my work.”
One of the most popular designs shows a series of hawks flying, and the word “silencio” below. Although Portlanders may interpret this as just another “put a bird on it” gimmick, in Cuba it has political meaning. Novo explained that young people in Cuba are tired of hearing about the embargo, about imperialism, and about the sacrifices they must make for socialism. “They gave us wings,” Novo said, “but they didn’t allow us to fly. We want fewer political speeches and more silence.”
The Novo Anniversary Collection will open on Thursday, September 20th at 6 pm in “The Best Art Gallery in Portland,” at 1468 NE Alberta St. Artist talk will be followed by a reception.
Novo will also be talking at Lewis & Clark and Reed colleges on Monday (9/17) and Tuesday (9/18).
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO SET UP INTERVIEWS WITH REYNIER LEYVA NOVO (9/15-9/22) CONTACT ELLIOTT YOUNG AT CHINO@NOVO-DESIGNS.COM, OR 971-506-0963.