obra-kchoIf you are in Paris anytime before 2nd July, make sure you see Todos los caminos (All roads). It’s an exhibition of paintings, installations and drawings by Cuban artist Alexi Leyva (Kcho) which opened on 20 May at the Louis Carré Gallery. Todos los caminos, commented Kcho, because “the ideal is that all roads lead to passion, responsibility, dreams.” He explained that he talks “about the work, passion, responsibility, and art as a responsibility. You can’t create without a sense of responsibility, even more so today when everything is becoming nothing more than a commodity, pale and void of a genuine message.” The show is the product of an agreement reached in talks between President Raul Castro and French President Francois Hollande that called for a series of cultural events between the two countries. In Cuba, the month of May was designated as “French Culture Month” and French film, music, theatre, poetry and other arts were showcased in Havana and Santiago de Cuba. In parallel, May was “Cuba Culture Month” in France.

In this exhibition, as with his work displayed in Presente!, Kcho explores his longtime interest in the themes of migration and boats. The boat has been an element in Cuba’s history in such events as the arrival of Christopher Columbus, the ships transporting slave labour to the island and the Granma yacht landing. And according to Kcho, as far as migration is concerned, today it is a universal reality. “The world is made by migrations. From South to North, people are traveling trying to improve their life conditions. Huge human movements are greater each time and no matter whatever the reasons for these migrations, there’s always someone close who is part of this process.” Commentators noted that the thousands of migrants trapped in French ports brought a special poignancy to the exhibited works.

While in Paris, Kcho had two further engagements. A few days after the opening he visited the embassy of Cuba. He arrived at the building and to the delight of the children present, he uncovered a supply of charcoal pencils, spray paints and other art materials. Inviting the children to work with him, they created two works of art for presents: one for Fidel Castro for his 90th birthday and the second for Cuban President Raul Castro for his 85th. With the collective work accomplished, Kcho then made gifts for the children who took home a little drawing, catalogue or a dedication of the artist.

Details of the exhibition at http://www.louiscarre.fr/ 

Kcho’s final engagement in Paris was at the offices of Google where he experimented with the new Tilt Brush, a product created by Google which uses media technology to experiment in art making. Check out how Kcho uses a wand-like instrument to create three dimensional images at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exZX-AdZBFM