“My 94-year-old aunt keeps asking me: ‘Have they freed the boy with the painted pigs yet?’ and I keep answering in the negative. My aunt just smiles, remembering the performance of El Sexto, and I realize that acts of art live on in people’s minds, which, in fact, may be the best way of recording them.”
Graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado (aka “El Sexto”) has been in prison since December 2014 for having tried to stage a performance with pigs on which he wrote the names of “Fidel” and “Raul”.
In the end, he wasn’t even able to carry out his plan as he was detained when leading the piglets to the Centro Havana district. In any case, many of us still cherish the memory of the pigs running across the Parque Central.
Artist Tania Bruguera was also arrested in December for having organized a performance #YoTambienExijo (“I also demand”) – an open mic event in the Plaza de la Revolucion. Although she has been subject to several short detentions since then, she still dedicates herself to artivism in Cuba.
Her last performance consisted of an uninterrupted public reading of Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism, which was held at her home during the Havana Biennial. Everyone was welcome to join in, take the book and read a part of the dreadful anatomy of totalitarianism as interpreted by Hannah.
Tania still firmly believes in art as a tool capable of changing society.
Danilo keeps drawing his pictures behind the walls of the prison. His wings help him leave the cell and fly free.