Cuba Art and Culture Subject of Upcoming Art Exhibition

Just as the relationship between the United States and Cuba is in the headlines again, the Art Gallery at the University of Science and Arts will bring a portrait of Cuban life through its art during "Cuba Oriente" May 1-30.

An opening reception is scheduled May 1 at 6 p.m. The USAO Art Gallery is located on the first floor of Davis Hall on the USAO campus. Davis Hall is on the oval at South 17th Street between Grand Avenue and Alabama Street in Chickasha. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"The exhibition features vibrant works from what is often described as the heartland of Cuban culture," said Layne Thrift, assistant director of the gallery. "At a distance of more than 650 miles from Havana, the Oriente region is not well known by Americans in general due to the complex relationship between Cuba and the United States.

"The relationship between the United States and Cuba is back in the headlines. This is a historic time for both countries. The art in this exhibition gives us a chance to look into a culture we know very little about. It gives us a chance to know the people of Cuba in an informal way -- beyond politics."

The exhibition, which features several contemporary Cuban artists, is part of a larger exhibit held at the Goddard Center last year. "The Charles B. Goddard Center for the Visual and Performing Arts in Ardmore has graciously allowed the USAO Art Gallery to exhibit selections from a larger show held there last year," Thrift said.

"The backgrounds of the artist are varied -- some being self-taught, primitive painters, while others have formal, academic training. Interestingly, their careers range from a police officer to several college professors to a former museum director.

"Subjects of the exhibition encompass landscapes, abstract works, surrealistic themes and varied comments on life in Cuba," Thrift said.

"For teachers wishing to use this exhibition for classroom purposes, a 40 page online teacher's guide is available at The teacher’s guide is designed to expose young people to Cuban culture and promote visual art literacy."

The exhibit has toured the United States thanks to the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C., in cooperation with Clyde Hensley and the Eastern Cuba Cultural Exchange.

The Eastern Cuba Cultural Exchange was founded by Clyde Hensley, whose travels and experiences in many countries and lifelong interest in art brought him to Eastern Cuba in 1995, where he met many artists working under difficult conditions and with few materials. He became passionate about helping them. Several exhibits have been brought to the United States through his efforts and in collaboration with the Meridian International Center.

More information about the exhibition, artists and culture can be found online at In addition, USAO Channel 18 will air segments of "Luminous Shadows: The Art of Eastern Cuba."

The documentary is filmed and edited by Hensley. In the documentary, the artists speak about the Oriente region of Cuba and the purpose of art in their everyday lives. The USAO Channel 18 is available to SuddenLink subscribers in the Chickasha area. For additional information, call 405-574-1239.

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