El Sexto, a Cuban graffiti artist and activist, will showcase his work in an exhibition entitled “PORK,” which will take place at Market Gallery in South Beach, Miami, from February 26 to March 16.
El Sexto was arrested on December 25, 2014 while on his way to present his performance art piece “Rebelión en la Granja” — the Spanish title of George Orwell’s classic “Animal Farm” — which included two pigs decorated with the names Fidel and Raúl. The graffiti artist was accused of criminal defamation for “insulting” the leaders of the Cuban Revolution and sent to prison, where he remained incarcerated without trial until his release in October 2015. Last May, while still in prison, El Sexto was awarded the Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent for his bravery and ingenuity in peacefully advocating for individual rights in Cuba.
The exhibition will open with a multi-sensory event including a performance art piece, a secret 1960s film, live music, and El Sexto’s first comprehensive display of paintings, drawings, and prints.
“Since 2008, Danilo Maldonado Machado has not only brought his unique form of graffiti across the streets, alleys, and decaying buildings of Havana, but has managed to produce an amazing body of paintings under increasingly intolerable conditions. Painter, graffiti artist, performance artist, master draftsman, dissident, pacifist, political philosopher, and social media phenomenon: El Sexto is also a hero. He reconciles his life and his art, both showman and shaman. Above all El Sexto’s essential medium is freedom and the world is his studio – even prison.
His very name, El Sexto (The Sixth in Spanish) is a direct reference to the Cuban Five who were elevated to national heroes by Castro’s propaganda machine in 2014 (once released from a US prison on charges of spying). As his story spread, the consensus spread along with it: there was no crime committed and the punishment was ‘ludicrous.’
During the private viewing of PORK, El Sexto promises a special performance that furthers the radical proposition raised in Cuba. The event is sure to raise new questions; with bigger American pigs he will realize his long-delayed plan. Along with a series of high-energy paintings and detailed drawings from 2013-2016, PORK is a testament to his remarkable journey and transformation.”
Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.