Virgins, bears and tobacco

Caption: Cuban Bear, Exhibition: United Buddy Bears in HavanaThis magazine is like opening a Pandora's box, to remember back and forth roads between the two continents, now that the Americas are in fashion at fairs and festivals of art: Art Basel Miami broke sales records and public in December, Arco Madrid is dedicated to Colombia in February, Art America is prepared in the United States in March, while the XXX Biennial of Havana attracts all expectations of the coming May. 


Before your eyes will be the first European map in which a German puts a face of America in 1507: that elongated tongue after the defeat of Columbus that it was not Asia, not a succession of islands that stood in the way. And although today the poor Américo Vespucio is accused of stealing the name and plan from the Admiral of the Ocean Sea, the truth is that the world was another since then, even when  rumors remain that there were news of the route in taverns of Portuguese people, on the altars of Genoa, in the Viking ships, and even in old Chinese maps.


By that route -road came the cross to the first inhabitants of our continent and, with the mixture of Spanish and Indian, the virgins of America. Because the conquistadors brought their Catholic saints, but mixed with those "Indians" the Aboriginal cemíes and orishas that came on the slave ships. On these pages we go from Catholicism to popular belief, back and forth, like tobacco toured European courts in 1492, dwelt brothels, offices and lofts, and now hosts in the capital of the main island of the Antilles to most renowned collectors in the Festival del Habano 2015.


By causalities, the Buddy Bears that roam the globe since 2002 have just arrived in Cuba. Over one hundred and forty artists of the world have painted them in the name of tolerance, supporting two German artists who were called to Berlin to paint bears friends, and from there they have traveled from Hong Kong to Rio de Janeiro, from Kuala Lumpur to Buenos Aires. Now it's the turn of Havana, voted one of the seven wonder cities, where the historian Eusebio Leal stated his debut at the opening of United Buddy Bears, surrounded by these plantigrades with arms raised: "I do not want to be tolerated, I want to be respected ".


And that is what we desire in Latin America, declared a peace zone in the recent Summit of Unasur in Quito, Ecuador: we want to be loved and respected. Let this number 22 of Art by Excellencies contribute to mutual understanding, now that we need more than ever the worship of our ancestors and traditions and that, above a rock and a thirst for conquest, respect and friendship prevail between our peoples and nations.