Riera Studio: Betting on a Different Art
Unique in promoting alternative visual arts, Riera Studio is increasing in prestige and experience as one of the few galleries located in the neighborhood of Cerro, one of Havana’s fifteen municipalities.
In contrast to other galleries in the city, Riera Studio hosts peripheral and underground art produced by creators who are social misfits or mentally challenged or who have Down’s syndrome. Hence the works on display are mainly Art Brut, Mental and Outsider Art.
Founded in 2011, Riera Studio possesses all the necessary conditions: spacious exhibition halls, storage of works, offices, an information center and a workshop for artists who lack spaces or materials with which to work. The gallery also hosts the Art Brut Cuba Project as the only initiative that drives this trend on the island.
Artist Samuel Riera, who is currently a teacher at the San Alejandro Fine Arts School, wanted to distance himself from the academy and traditional artistic methodology and give priority to instinct and creative spontaneity. Towards this end, he selected for his home-gallery over 50 artists among whom stand out Misleydis Castillo, Carlos García Huergos, Luis Eusebio Coto and Damián Valdés Dilla.
Embracing the term Art Brut, created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to refer to the inspiration of the insane and psychologically ill, Riera believes that “the permanently excluded make us remember what we don’t want to, what we were before reaching this moment, a social reality that works as a mirror.”
Housing Cuba’s first collection of Art Brut, Riera Studio sees recycled and painted cardboard, newspaper pages and old vinyl records as symbols of a hidden personal sensitivity. This is the capacity that art has that is born out of everyday life.
Address: Marta Abreu Street, No. 202, between 20 de Mayo and Enrique Villuendas, Ayestaran Cerro.
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.