[Ppnews] Artwork of Antonio Guerrero Brightens up a Former Jail

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 27 10:10:57 EDT 2010

International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five
May 26, 2010

It is hard to think of a more appropriate venue for the art exhibit 
of Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five imprisoned in the US, than 
the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice 
California. The art facility was formerly the Venice jail that held 
prisoners from 1929 until the early 1970's. Judy Baca, renowned 
artist and founder of SPARC, made the jail its headquarters in 1977 
and "liberated" the space for the arts.

 From May 22 - June 11 the front of the SPARC facility will display a 
huge banner with an iconic image, taken by Cuban photographer Liborio 
Nidal and painted by Antonio, hanging on it as a powerful symbol of 
resistance announcing the works of Antonio being exhibited inside.

The small cell inside the gallery provided a distinctive touch for 
the exhibit entitled "From My Altitude". Over 150 people attended 
opening night and were able to appreciate a prisoner's shirt hanging 
inside the cell, mimicking one of the painting's of Antonio. Those 
attending the opening entered the cell and signed postcards to 
President Obama asking for the immediate release of the Cuban Five.

The gallery opened its door at 7:30 pm on Saturday and right away a 
numerous audience poured into a reception area and then to the 
gallery that filled it to its capacity. Judy Baca gave the welcoming 
and explained the struggle that SPARC is currently enduring to save 
its historical building from budget cuts coming down from the City of 
Los Angeles. At her side was Debra Padilla, SPARC's Executive 
Director, and known Hollywood actor Edward Asner.

Many people were motivated to come primarily to enjoy an art exhibit 
and to hear Mr. Asner, only to be shocked and outraged to learn for 
the first time about the case of the Cuban Five.

The reception was followed by a program at Beyond Baroque, a Literary 
Arts Center Theater next door, that was formerly the Venice City Hall 
which included the projecting of the evening's program to the outside 
patio wall for the over flow crowd.

Suzanne Thompson, from the International Committee for the Freedom of 
the Cuban Five, produced and mc'd the program. Thompson first 
introduced a documentary-in progress on terrorism against Cuba by 
film maker Saul Landau and Jack Willis entitled "Will the Real 
Terrorists Please Stand Up".

The documentary was followed by a pre-recorded message by Danny 
Glover, who was absent due to the filming of a movie in Nigeria. 
Glover read two letters between Adriana Perez and Gerardo Hernandez 
and the story of a small bird saved by Gerardo in the high security 
prison in Victorville California. This short story offers just a 
glimpse into the human quality of Gerardo and his four brothers. (See 
link below)

Alicia Jrapko the US Coordinator of the International Committee gave 
an update on the case and invited people to get involved.   In 
reference to the prison shirt painted by Antonio, Jrapko ended her 
presentation by saying "Let us continue our fight for justice until 
the shirts of Rene, Gerardo, Fernando, Ramon and Antonio stay behind 
and the return to their homeland is realized."

The program ended with actor Edward Asner, who has been an important 
voice in many struggles for justice inside the United States. Asner 
read two poems from Guerrero's book of poems "From My Altitude" and a 
letter from the book "Letters of Love and Hope". He also talked about 
the importance of continuing the struggle to free the Cuban Five.

The Shoo Flies band provided entertainment at the after party at the 
Beyond Baroque backspace patio.

On Sunday May 23rd,  at the SPARC and UCLA Cesar Chavez Digital Mural 
Lab,  Dolores Huerta, President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and 
Co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union, spoke at a brunch in 
support of the rights of family visits for the Cuban Five.

After the showing of the documentary "Against the Silence" produced 
by De Mano a Mano Productions, Huerta explained about the injustice 
of the denial of family visits and told people that she was going to 
commit herself to work harder on the case and asked others to join 
her and to continue organizing until the US government grants visas 
to Adriana Perez and Olga Salanueva to visit their imprisoned husbands.

Danny Glover Youtubes on the Cuban 5

The Bird and the Prisoner 6:46

Letter from Adriana to Gerardo 2:09

Letter from Gerardo to Adriana 1:02

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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