Cuban artists depict attacks of Sept. 11
A lithographer and a photographer, both Americans, worked with the Cubans.
HAVANA (AP) -- Palm trees blow in a hurricane's wind, surrounded by devastation. Unsteady scaffolding straddles the Malecon, Havana's famed seawall, covered with rubble and dust of once-standing buildings.
The images on top are Cuban, but underneath lay haunting reminders of the destruction and grief of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.
In "Date with Angels," an exhibition that opened July 8 at the Jose Marti Memorial in Havana, 41 Cuban artists created art on lithographs produced by American Gunars Prande, based on photographs taken by another American, Richard Falco.
The project, a collaboration between New York's School of Visual Arts and Cuba's Taller Experimental de Grafica, aims to "symbolically reconstruct -- in a creative dream of hope -- the World Trade Center's twin towers," said Raimundo Respall, the Taller's director.
Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly who was on hand for the opening, said it was a "beautiful example" of transcending borders during a particularly tense moment between the Cuban and U.S. governments.
The United States recently implemented new measures against communist Cuba that aim to squeeze the island's economy and push out President Fidel Castro. Castro has called the measures "atrocious and inhumane" and says they will not dislodge him from power.
Sharing the pain
The Cuban art represents "a message of peace and sincere friendship toward New York and the people of the United States," Alarcon said.
"We are all New Yorkers," he added. "We suffered alongside the victims as if the attack had happened to us."
Artist Alberto Sautua, who created the image that included the Malecon, agreed the work flows from empathy.
"This act could have happened anywhere -- in New York, at the Eiffel Tower, in Havana," he said.
The photographs were taken as firefighters and construction workers dug through the post-attack rubble in 2001. There are stark images of the collapsing towers in the background.
Most of the Cuban artists preserved much of the original photographs. Eduardo Abela placed a brightly colored, cartoon image of Superman in front of the towers, clasping his hands, tears streaming down his face and screaming, "Oh ... my god!"
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