In March, Ambassador Matthew Levin invited Havana art lovers and everyone else to his official residence in Havana for a third annual art auction to benefit Cuban cancer research. Nearly two hundred people had an opportunity to view and bid on a broad range of Cuban art creating a strong link between the Canadian presence in Cuba and that country’s booming culture scene.
Cancer research funding has been an ongoing mission of the Canadian Embassy – the Terry Fox Run in Havana is one of the largest outside of Canada itself.
At the event, guests who donated $20 in Canadian, US or Cuban currency, were treated to a sensational assembly of Cuban foods provided by four of Havana’s leading paladares (private restaurants) – San Cristobal, La Guarida, La Fontana and La Campana. Havana Club and Ciego Montero provided drinks and refreshments.
Helmo Hernandez from the Ludwig Foundation was on hand to help interpret and explain the Cuban art to the audience.
Doctor Teresa Romero, Director of the National Cancer Program (Unidad de cancer) at the Ministry of Public Health spoke to the group explaining what the money will be used for and expressing her enthusiasm for the event. One hundred per cent of the $18,000+ raised goes to Cuba’s National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology.
In addition to the hanging of the main auction pieces and an array of silent auction pictures, performance artist Nadia García Porras was on hand bringing her flamboyant alter ego and fantasy creation, Maraya Shells, who posed for photos and offered her grandmother’s poetry to raise contributions.
The evening was an enjoyable event for everyone involved while exposing some important Cuban artists and raising funds for cancer research in Cuba. It was also an opportunity to strengthen the bonds between Canada and the island country.