A Museum, a Treasure

A Museum, a Treasure
Fecha de publicación: 
11 September 2023
Imagen principal: 

The collection of the National Museum of Fine Arts, the most important in Cuba and one of the most significant on the continent, is the nation's indisputable treasure. And not just, for its merely monetary worth, which indeed has; but for its extraordinary symbolic value.

In the wards of the Museum, in its warehouses, a good part of the heritage of the country's visual arts is exhibited or preserved. This collection (which still requires a lot of research, new approaches and evaluations) offers a comprehensive and exhaustive vision of the history of Cuban art. Let's say it aloud: without the funds from the National Museum of Fine Arts, the history of Cuban art cannot be told. Simple as that.

On top of that appears the unique panorama that it offers of universal art, especially of historical schools and movements. There are very important works and sets of works, particularly European and American art.

But let's agree on the fact that the most complete collection is that of Cuban art, which is the one constantly growing, the one that begins at the very dawn of creation here, that goes through the consolidation of a national culture, and reaches more contemporary expressions.

The task of the Museum is huge taking into account that a National Museum of Contemporary Art does not exist in Cuba (and obviously should exist).This institution has to assume the responsibility of being a showcase and house for a good part of that production.

The challenges, in terms of conservation, protection, and promotion of the collections at the National Museum of Fine Arts are not only challenges of the Museum. They are challenges of the institutional system of culture.

The Ministry of Culture has worked and is now currently working in this direction: it's not an easy task. If we start from the conviction that the ideal conditions haven't been met (how difficult it's to achieve that ideal), the permanent process of improving those conditions is doable. It has been invested and there are projects underway.

Some are surprised that the Museum exhibits so little of what it treasures. It's international practice and it's logical. Thanks to what's stored and protected in these warehouses, temporary exhibitions can be organized, cultural extension actions can be done, as well as loans and collaborations. And it's also a source of permanent study.

Okay, that heritage can be more socialized. But to do that it's essential, first of all to conserve and protect. That's a priority of the National Museum of Fine Arts. And it will be forever, assuming the vitality of the art made, on the making and that will be made in Cuba.

In the year of the 110th anniversary of Fine Arts, it would be convenient to reflect on these issues.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / Cubasi Translation Staff


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