Propaganda Art Of The Cuban Revolution And The Post Socialist Conceptual Art

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Communist imagery and text appear in two contexts in Cuba, one, satirical and the other, its intended “proper” use in political propaganda. This essay will juxtapose the use of word and image in propaganda art of the Cuban revolution and the post-socialist conceptual art of the 90s that emerged in indirect and sometimes overtly direct response to it. Due to the regime’s strict control over the media, art has become one of the only spaces where critique of the government can sneak through, mostly uncensored. The artist who engaged in such critical inquiries often faced severe consequences, including marginalization, excommunication, prison. The content of both the revolutionary propaganda and the conceptual art of the 90’s is essentially identical: pictorial symbols of national identity such as the flag, it’s colors, the shape of the island, the faces of Castro, Che, Camilo, among other revolutionary figures, along with popular communist mottos. Words such as luchar (fight/strive) and vencer (triumph) appear in both settings, but its connotative meaning depends on where the artist’s loyalty lies.

Monumental propaganda first appeared during Lenin 's governance in the early 20th century. It is suggested that it was he who suggested communist ideals be communicated to the general audience through art on a grand scale in public areas. During his life, but more so, after his death, Lenin 's figure was manufactured countless times, in a statewide process of "Leninization".

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