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AS LONG AS THE SKY curated by Ivonne Ferrer and Henry Ballate

“Artists and friends” in the Hamlet Collection is the second exhibition presented by The Rodríguez Collection in collaboration with other  private collections as part of the program to unveil art that was produced in Cuba and today is preserved outside the island. 

 

As Long as the Sky Whirls, Hamlet will be remembered by his artists and friends. The peculiarity of a vision and an aesthetic taste is what today makes up the magnificent collection. This collection represents more than an identity, but an affirmation of the island’s long tradition of creativity and venerable reputation in the international world of fine arts. The exhibition showcases the work of 25 artists who have reached beyond the boundaries of Cuba. Similarly, the gallery will have a special area dedicated to a group of works by Tomás Oliva (Hamlet’s stepfather), artworks that have never been exhibited before and are a part of this great collection. Through “Artists and friends” we can recognize artwork that spans over 40 years and includes a diversity of styles and media, by some of the artists that have established a new course of modernism in the country, to the most outstanding artists of the present day.

 

These are Hamlet’s friends:

Alejandro Aguilera, Ana Albertina, Glauber Ballesteros, Mario Bencomo, Carlos Cárdenas, Consuelo Castañeda, Humberto Castro, Arturo Cuenca, Tomas Esson, Florencio Gelabert, Javier Guerra, Nicolás Guillen, Vladimir Llaguno, Alonso Mateo, Aldito Menendez, José Mijares, Noel Morera, Tomas Oliva, José Orbein, Jorge Perugorría, Carlos Quintana, Cuty Ragazzone, Zaida del Río, Jorge L. Trinchet, Sergio Vardi.

 

Henry Ballate M.F.A.

This exhibition is first and foremost a heartfelt tribute from a mother—a great lover of art—Xiomara Almaguer; to her son who left when too many expectations were placed on him, because he was already a part of a movement of young creators, which were also his friends and adventure colleagues; a whole ensemble of artists of the Cuban visual arts, that Hamlet desired to help personally, driving also in some way, the promotion of his works. This is how his private collection was configured, which furthermore includes the names of masters such as Tomás Oliva, an essential figure of abstraction who emerged in the 1950s, linked to Hamlet through family ties. Almost the entireties of the 25 names, which make up the recompense of this show, have become an indispensable part of the panorama, with capital letters, of our existing arts. Many of their works today are indispensable models, even at the museum level. 

 

Another exceptional figure, researcher and foremost champion of our art, inside and outside of Cuba, Dr. Lillian Llanes—connected to the circumstances of Xiomara and Hamlet—as a friend, has always encouraged the idea of presenting this collection to the public, who receives the conscientious and thoughtful care of Ivonne Ferrer as art restorer and Henry Ballate chief curator of the Kendall Art Center. In which a perfect balance is achieved between the high quality of exponents and the crucial testimonial meaning of a set of pieces, that equally expresses the human bonds between art collector and artist, or between friends; which thus reveals the intense life shared within a given epochal circle, the experiences reflected here, in the same way, united them in the time when Hamlet himself constituted an “alternative cultural nexus,” bohemian and savior of debauched nonconformists and singularities outside the margins of norms and conventions. 

 

Aldo Menéndez