Havana / An experience in barrio Cantarrana
between cooperation and culture Centro Luigi Di Sarro and CISP-Sviluppo dei popoli together for the upgrading of a popular district in cuban capital
One of the interventions made during the Italian Culture Week in Cuba is what created the Centro Luigi Di Sarro and the CISP – International Committee for the Development of Peoples. Two women, Alessandra Atti Di Sarro – journalist and vice president of Centro Luigi Di Sarro – and Paola Larghi – responsible for Cisp-Development projects of peoples in Cuba – have been the protagonists and builders of this visionary idea that combines development with culture and art.
To Alessandra Atti Di Sarro we asked how this project was born?
CISP brings in the Cantarrana barracks in Havana, with the artists of the Huellas group, an urban redevelopment project through art painting houses according to the inhabitants, which I had to visit last year. From that afternoon passed between the painted houses of Cantarrana, a reportage was born that was then transmitted by TG2 Stories and a collaboration with Paola Larghi that was developed thanks to the invitation of the Italian Embassy in Cuba to present a project with the Centro Luigi Di Sarro for the 2011 Culture Week. We brought two artists selected by Centro Di Sarro, Erik Chevalier and Mauro Magni to Havana for the “VISUS” exhibition, painting and photography works (which was held on 22 / 11 to 4/12 at the Provisional Center of Design Luz y Oficios) and connect the two italian artist with the group of Cuban artists Huellas to propose the sketch of a mural to be made on one of Cantarrana’s houses as an interaction / workshop between Italians and Cubans . Chevalier and Magni have made a real site-specific with 4 hands. The work for the project, with the participation of the Cuban group, lasted 3 days, at the end of which there was a large party with music groups in the barrio that animated from the afternoon to night the alley where the mural was discovered in the evening by the Italian Ambassador Marco Baccin. Also part of the project was a meeting of artists and cooperation actors dedicated to the theme “art and urban transformation” to talk about a new international cooperation that goes for a concept of development increasingly linked to the cultural factor.
So, all comes out from a meeting of women …
We had an instant understanding! Perhaps because we are of the same generation and we have in common cultural background and also many ideals. She loves art, theater and music, and she’s convinced that one has to fight for a better world, that’s why she works in the field of cooperation for development. I have always pursued a serious commitment in the world of international cooperation, I make my personal volunteering through my journalism profession to the South of the world, and in addition in my experience there is culture as a skill, I have been working on it in Rai, italian television for years, and culture is also the mission of my family’s activity with the ‘Centro Luigi Di Sarro’ in Rome, entitled to my uncle, whom I care about international exchanges.
Are you satisfied with the result?
To see hundreds of people attending the festival for the inauguration of the mural and to see that during the final concert people was busy all the time to photographing or getting shot in front of the opera … well, it was amazing! Collaboration among artists was rich in ideas; Chevalier and Magni (the first works as a restorer and decorator with tromp l’oeil, the second as decorator and set designer) have been able to offer many technical information and receive interesting information on recycled and alternative materials that we do not usually use. And more: at the exhibition opening and at the round table there was lots of participants, especially young people, a sign that we also focused on the theoretical point of view. And in times when culture is considered irrelevant or even useless, it was, yes, a real satisfaction.