The Havana Project features ceramic tiles, murals and tile-based objects created by student artists Lorraine Brochu, Constance Lange, Mary Ruth Yoe and Norma Zarris enrolled in the Art Center’s Ceramic Tile class taught by multi-media artist Mary Tepper. The artworks on view survey a variety of tile-making techniques from embossing, carving, stenciling, image-transfering, and mold-making to create rich texture and unique handmade two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms. The title of the exhibition references the fact that some of the work presented here is inspired by the public mosaic murals and sculptures by self-taught artist José Fuster in Cuba.
The Chicago-themed murals presented here were made with the intention to ultimately be given to Fuster and aid in his ongoing goal of beautifying the poverty-stricken neighborhood of Las Jaimanitas. José Fuster is an internationally recognized artist known for creating large-scale ceramic murals and sculptures which are integrated throughout Cuba. His work has been compared to the intricate and ornate styles of GaudÃ and Picasso, and resembles the fortitude of Simon Rodia, creator of the Watts Towers in Los Angeles. For more information on José Fuster, and to obtain his address for tile contributions, visit www.josefuster.com. Since 1962, the US has restricted trade and travel to Cuba, a decision that was renewed in 2009, when the Trading With The Enemy Act was extended. The US has recently taken small steps to repair relations with Cuba through easing restrictions on some types of travel and mail service with academic, religious or cultural purposes. The Havana Project is an experiment in working with these and other constraints in attempt to open up a cross-cultural conversation between Cuba and the US through public art.