Monday, March 30, 2015

An Afternoon for Danilo (El Sexto)

An Afternoon for Danilo (El Sexto) / 14ymedio, Luz Escobar
Posted on March 29, 2015

14ymedio, Luz Escobar, 29 March 2015 – As part of the campaign to demand
freedom for the artist Danilo Maldonado, known as "El Sexto," several
artistic activities took place this Saturday at la Paja Recold, the
studio of the band Porno para Ricardo.

On the walls of the place were works by the graffiti artist who has been
incarcerated since last December 25. El Sexto was arrested shortly
before carrying out a performance that consisted of releasing in a
public square two pigs with the names of "Fidel and Raul." The crime
that has been charged against him is contempt.

Several friends from all over the world and human rights organizations
have demanded his immediate release. Yesterday's activities joined those
demands for his freedom. Among the most important moments of the
afternoon was the performance by Tania Bruguera of The Whisper of Tatlin
which opened the studio's microphones to the fifty attendees of the
encounter to ask for – in a minute each – Danilo Maldonado's liberty.

The host band Porno para Ricardo, played the lead musical part with
several songs from their repertoire. Subsequently rappers including El
Opuesto, Maikel Extremo, Rapper Isaac and Lazaro Farise Noise appeared
on stage. All demanded the release of the artist and demonstrated
solidarity with his cause. Also a book was opened in order to gather
signatures of support for the #FreeElSexto campaign. An option
paralleling that already implemented on the digital platform
and that is intended for those who do not have access to the Internet.

The artist Tania Bruguera told 14ymedio she had attended the event,
"Because I think this is a case of the violation of the artist's
rights." "It is not right that an artist who did not even carry out the
work should be made a prisoner," she stressed. Bruguera is precluded
from leaving Cuba and is in the midst of legal proceedings because of
events arising from her attempt to organize a performance last December
30 in the Plaza of the Revolution.

In spite of her delicate legal situation, the artist attended the event
in order to offer her support to El Sexto's cause. Because she says that
"An artist that is in jail just for imagining a work and trying to make
it, it is an injustice." About the performance that the graffiti artist
would have carried out, Bruguera points out that, "Public figures,
whether politicians or celebrities, are likely to be criticized (…) they
have to assume that people who do not have that power, they are able to
make them aware of their discontent through humor and satire."

Bruguera quipped that, "If they made prisoners of everyone who makes
jokes about Fidel and Raul Castro, half the people would be
incarcerated." And she concluded, "The artist's freedom lies in having
the right to say symbolically whatever he wants."

Gorki Aguila, meanwhile, explained that, "It is important that artists
join together among themselves (…) art has an incredible power to
summon." El Sexto's grandmother, attending the event, said that, "The
right of a man to live as he wants to live must be respected, Danilo
does not harm anyone, he respects everyone, but he also asks for respect
for himself, that they let him do what he wants."

With respect to the prison conditions in which this artist has lived,
the grandmother says that, "He was sleeping on the floor for two months
because for him, as for many other prisoners, there was no bed. They
don't let even an aspirin in. Danilo is chronically asthmatic, he had
pneumonia, and they denied him antibiotics."

The lady also told of the continuing threats by State Security to many
of the invitees so that they would not go this Saturday to the tribute
to El Sexto. The pressure included the visit of two officers to the home
of Gorki Aguila in order to deliver to him a police citation that
required him to appear at the police station that same afternoon. The
musician refused to go on grounds that a citizen must be given at least
24 hours notice of such an action.

Lia Villares said that during the next Havana Biennial, which will get
underway at the end of May, "We are going to do something." The blogger
anticipates that it will be, "A work by El Sexto that was not displayed
here today."

Translated by MLK

Source: An Afternoon for Danilo (El Sexto) / 14ymedio, Luz Escobar |
Translating Cuba -

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