“Alumbrando el Barrio” or “Lighting up the Neighborhood” will permanently illuminate ten theater signs in Havana. Unveiling will take place during the 12th Bienal de La Habana from May 21st to June 20th, 2015.
Cuban painter and sculptor, Kadir Lopez Nieves, born in 1973 in rural Las Tunas, parlayed his artistic vision to transform historical icons into works of art. This year, during the 12th Bienal de La Habana, Kadir will unveil his in situ restoration project of ten of Havana’s neon and incandescent signs on the very theaters where for decades that have sat, rusting metal hulks, still attached to the buildings.
Havana, once graced by thousands of electric signs on theatres, stores, hotels and nightclubs, was a city of lights that rivaled even Paris in the 1950s. Thousands of neon and incandescent signs heralded the urban chic of Havana before the practice fell in to disfavor in the early 1960s and they slowly evaporated from the city’s skyline. The politically incorrect implications of the fabulous signage, as well as the maintenance required in the harsh, tropical climate propelled the signs into decay.
“…we all know about Cuba’s fleet of American cars. …I wonder what remains of Havana’s old neon signs. A little bit of Paris, a little bit of Vegas and a lot of South Beach, Havana was a city that positively glittered…” T. Rinaldi, NY Neon Blogspot
During the last the last ten years, Kadir Lopez has focused on reclaiming many of the city’s old inventory of unused commercial baked enamel signage and has created extensive works of art, exhibiting in Cuba, Europe, Latin America, the US and Canada in both collective and one man shows. His work is exhibited in galleries, museums and private collections.
Increasingly unsatisfied with dichotomy of working in the studio and confining the work to the interiors of exhibition spaces, Mr. Lopez decided to move his works to the streets of Havana, thereby creating a new social practice he defines as En Poder Practica Social.
“…I was feeling confined in the studio and longed to share the beauty I find in the antique signs with my neighbors and other Habaneros. En Poder, or In-Power, if you will, stands for the empowerment of the people of the city through my work, playing with the concept of electricity and illumination. Our motto is “Relighting the Neighborhood, and that is exactly what we intend to do.” Kadir Lopez Nieves
Today, Havana is a city with a new vigor and energy that is quickly reclaiming old traditions and creating new ones. With a keen consciousness of this throughout his body of work, Kadir Lopez Nieves will move out of his studio and into the streets of Havana in force during the upcoming Bienal de La Habana, breathing new life into the electric signs that are the equivalent of the rolling stock of antique American cars that grace the city’s streets. He will also participate in three important exhibitions with related works and deeper insights into his En Poder Practica Social project.
“I look forward to doing my part in relighting the neighborhoods of my beloved Havana. I am committed to work on preserving and relighting every single sign that still stands in the city….for as long as it takes.” Kadir Lopez Nieves
Theatre Locations of Signs to be illuminated during “Alumbrando El Barrio”:
-ALAMEDA/Santa Catalina Y Parraga,
Vivora -ACAPULCO/Avenida 26 esquina Ave kohly,
Alturas del Vedado -APOLO/Diez de Octubre numero 446 -ARENAL/(ave 47 y calle 30 , playa)Columbia y 6.
La Sierra -ARSENAL/Casablanca -CITY HALL/Ayestarán y San Pablo,Plaza
For complete list, contact Mr. Adolfo Nodal email@example.com /310 808 3594
or visit www.kadirlopez.com