Havana ~ Cuba
The Cuban artist Tania Bruguera received a Prince Claus Award for the quality of her art, for representing the body as a political arena, for re-introducing performance art into Caribbean and Latin American culture and for her inspiring role in the Cuban art world. Using the human body in powerfully evocative performance art, Tania Bruguera is concerned with concepts such as restraint, abuse and freedom. Bruguera’s artworks induce a visceral response that breaks down the rationalising distance of the viewer. In some works, body fluids increase intensity, for example the experience of exile is handwritten in blood on a wall (Rastros Corporales, 1982-93). In other works, ritualised actions transform history with contemporary relevance. In Burden of Guilt (1997-99), she stands beneath a Cuban flag made of human hair with a butchered lamb round her neck and eats dirt, alluding to Cubans who refused to submit to conquistadors, evoking human desperation for self-determination. Bruguera maintains her independence by addressing the universal in the complex local context. She exhibits internationally and teaches in Italy, America and Cuba, building bridges between cultures. She founded the first performance studies programme in Latin America (2002), organising international exchanges and debates that impact on emerging generations of artists and audiences. Tania Bruguera is awarded for the outstanding quality of her artwork, for clearly demonstrating the role of the body as a political site, for re-generating performance art in the cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America, and for her inspirational role in Cuban arts.