Ten cultural events in 2023

Ten cultural events in 2023
Fecha de publicación: 
5 January 2024
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The year that has just ended, despite so many obstacles generated by the crisis, showcased the strength of the Cuban culture in several of its expressions. Here is a list of some of the most important events in 2023.

Martí in our thinking and action

José Martí does not have all the answers to the challenges of contemporary times, but there are key elements in both his thinking and his actions: he is an ethical reference and an intellectual guide. From January 24 to 28, on the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the birth of the Cuban National Hero, the V International Conference for the World Balance was held in Havana, convened by the World Council of the José Martí Project for World Solidarity. It was a forum of plural and multidisciplinary thought that sought to raise awareness among world public opinion against the evils being experienced today by humanity, which put the very existence of the specie at risk.

Jazz at full flute

In January 2023, the 38th edition of the most important Cuban festival dedicated to jazz opened: Jazz Plaza, with venues in Havana and Santiago de Cuba. It was an event that welcomed the leading exponents of a genre that has marked Cuban music in many of its aspects: from popular expression to so-called concert music. And the exhibition was one of the highlights of the event: The Flutes without Borders concert, which took place at the Covarrubias Hall of the National Theater.

Fina at the (International Book) Fair

Fina García Marruz, a great poet of the language, died in 2022. But her death was not and will not translate into absence. Her legacy is really compelling in Cuban poetry. Her work granted her immortality. In 2023, the year of the centenary of her birth — it was April 28th — the 31st edition of the International Book Fair dedicated several literary spaces to her, including colloquiums and book presentations, which honored her poetic and essayistic creation as well as her commitment with the greatest of national culture and thought.

An exceptional exhibition

The Wilfredo Lam Contemporary Art Center hosted until May 21st the exhibition The Entire World is a Bauhaus, dedicated to one of the most famous institutions of universal art. The functional art and historical memory of the German Bauhaus school arrived in Cuba to be exhibited to the public in one of the most interesting exhibitions portrayed in Havana. The exhibition covered the period from 1919 to 1933 and was divided into 8 segments, which clarified aspects of this institution that changed the way of understanding the link between art, crafts, and life.

Cubadisco: music for all

The big news was that we could hold the Cubadisco event. The good news was that the proposals were outstanding. The aforementioned was stated by the president of the most important Cuban album event, Jorge Gómez, just before the opening concert of the International Fair in May. Music for the ears, but also for the heart: that was the metaphor. And it was also the aim of Cubadisco 2023, which presented a program of concerts and galas that honored the nation's immense musical heritage in dialogue with important artists from America and Europe.

Servando’s centenary

The retrospective exhibition The Memory of Erasures, which was hosted by the National Museum of Fine Arts, brought together pieces from various stages in Servando Cabrera Moreno’s life, a creator who transitioned without trauma from abstraction to a frankly expressionist figuration, until he reached his perhaps most canonical definition in a sensual, suggestive area, of thriving eroticism. It was the main action for the centenary of the birth of this extraordinary artist. Much of the exhibition was an epiphany of the bodies, a festival of the senses, a celebration of love, passion, life... For Servando Cabrera Moreno, the human being is the very center of creation. And the body is much more than the temple.

The Ballet of a Nation

On October 28th, the National Ballet of Cuba, the company founded by Alicia, Alberto and Fernando Alonso, turned 75 years old, and it was celebrated with a gala at the National Theater, the culmination of several tributes paid by institutions and organizations of Cuban society. It was a very intense season, which offered a panorama of the work of the exceptional company, Cultural Heritage of the Cuban Nation. From the great classics, through emblematic works of Cuban choreography, to more contemporary creations: the public was able to enjoy the art of an authentic cultural institution. The National Ballet of Cuba, now led by Viengsay Valdés, is consolidating itself as an undisputed benchmark of performing art in the country and the region and becomes a transcendent symbol of the spiritual treasure of the nation.

The work of theater

The 20th edition of the Theater Festival that was held in November was more austere this time. But the event lived up to the moment. The national selection, made up of shows from companies from all over the country, offered an interesting vision of the trends of contemporary Cuban theater. That was one of the responsibilities of the Festival. Much more so in a time marked by the impact of the pandemic, the crisis, the few national tours. The logic must be that of the effective coordination of proposals. Quality, instead of quantity. Attention to the artistic hierarchies that exist, that are supported by daily practice, that are endorsed by critics and the public: that was the goal of the event.

Havana, always classic

The International Festival Habana Clásica ran its program in the main concert halls of the capital, with the participation of soloists, conductors and groups from 17 countries. Habana Clásica has established itself as one of the main concert music events in Cuba. Under the artistic direction of pianist Marcos Madrigal, the 5th edition of the meeting once again set out to act as a bridge between the European classical circuit and the Havana musical movement.

A Festival for a continent

The 44th edition of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema closed the year as the greatest event. Havana hosted a diverse, integrative sample of cinematographic creation from this continent. It is a consolidated event, perfectly located on the international circuit. It is a festival with history and prestige. And the increasing number of requests to join its official exhibition can give you an idea of its significance in the region. The fact is that the Festival, from its beginnings, supported a concept that was, and continues to be, an authentic declaration of principles: the new cinema of our Latin America. The celebration of the event continues to be an act of faith, a gesture towards a loyal audience. Tradition and contemporaneity. Permanence and reinvention. The Festival supports the most committed cinema in the region, in times of bitter cultural debates.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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