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Cuban Artists Paint Garments, Not Canvases for Fashion Art Show

  • A visitor walks at the

    A visitor walks at the "Fashion Art Havana" exhibition in Havana, Cuba, Jan. 31, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 February 2017

"Fashion Art Havana" will run in Havana's neo-baroque Gran Teatro until Feb. 11.

A fantastical blue bird emerges from leaves in the latest work by Manuel Mendive, considered Cuba's top living artist. But this isn't a framed canvas, it's a painting on a dress, for the exhibit "Fashion Art Havana" that opened on Tuesday.

The show is the latest in the "Fashion Art" series by Spanish designer Manuel Fernandez, who has worked with artists all over the world to create one-off garments at the intersection of both disciplines.

"Art doesn't have to always be hung on walls, it could also be on floor tiles, earrings, tights or many other places," Fernandez said in an interview.

Participating artists said at the opening they had high hopes the exhibit would help fashion become viewed in Cuba as more than a mere consumerist indulgence.

"Fashion is also art," said Jorge Perugorria, who painted a graphic black and white design on his dress.

Fernandez said he first designs a garment for an artist, letting their work and personality inspire the form. He leaves the fabric blank though, like a canvas for them to then paint.

Given that he lets the artists paint whatever they wish, he has no idea what his shows will look like until the very last minute.

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