Art has always played a major roll in my life. I was raised in Miami, Florida and my mother works as both an art dealer and gallery manager, which has allowed me the opportunity to attend a multitude of art festivals, gallery opening nights, and individual art showings throughout my lifetime. Art Miami week has always been one of my favorite weeks out of the entire year because of Art Basel. Basel is a well known international art fair that is hosted in only three cities around the world with Miami Beach as the only host city in the Western Hemisphere of the world. Because of the location exclusivity of this event, most world renown artists from countries in North and South America choose to display their work at Art Basel in Miami rather than Hong Kong or Switzerland. With nearly 50 percent of the Miami population being of Cuban origins, it is no surprise that Cuban artist and political activist, Tania Bruguera, has set up an exhibition in Miami in years past. In fact, my involvement with Art Miami Week was how I first became familiarized with Tania Bruguera’s work. Naturally, when I was given the opportunity to visit a museum where an entire floor was devoted to Tania’s work, I could not turn it down.
The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is unlike any art museum I’ve been to before. I realized that my stroll through YBCA would be different from one in a traditional museum right as I walked in and spotted all of the interactive stations set up for the public to enjoy such as voting stations, sticky-note walls, and even a hexagon shaped ping-pong table! The atmosphere in the museum made it feel like less of an exhibit and more of an experience.
The Bruguera exhibition that stood out to me the most was the #YoMePropongo project. The project began in 2016 but is still growing today. The exhibit consisted of six televisions, each one with a different Cuban citizen ranging from construction workers, musical artists, and stay at home moms. These people were all chosen to explain what they would do if they were to become the new president of Cuba. One man responded that he would like to change the political system to a democracy and that freedom of the press would be one step in the right direction. Another woman just expressed a simple request to end all violence within the island to make for a safer living environment. The scope of the responses, from deeply embedded political issues to an uncomplicated desire for peace was fascinating. The reason why I thought the video showing was such a success is because of how the individuals opened up about their lives in such a personable matter. The experience was both engaging and enlightening, but most of all, it was fun!