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Monday February 3, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday February 3, 2014 MYT 10:24:22 AM
by grace o'neill
(From left) Fernando Salas, who is the Charge D’affairs of the Embassy of Chile in Kuala Lumpur, and Embassy of Chile consul Tamara Villanueva admiring some of the paintings at the exhibition.
IT was Yanila Reyes Paret’s first time celebrating Cuba’s National Day away from home.
Paret, who is the charge d’Affaires of the Cuban Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, said she missed the big celebrations at home.
“We would celebrate it with family and the Culture Ministry would host a concert featuring various artists which would draw big crowds.
“There would even be a countdown and fireworks to usher in the New Year as well as National Day, which also falls on Jan 1,” she said.
However, she said, she enjoyed herself with her family and 20 other Cubans who
are living in Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur recently.
“Many of the Cubans here are performers. So, we enjoyed dancing and singing to traditional Cuban songs,” she said.
She was one of the guests who attended the opening of the Cuban Art Exhibition at the City Art Gallery, which celebrated the 55th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.
Some 33 artworks by 15 contemporary artists were showcased especially for
This included internationally acclaimed Cuban painter Alexis Leyva, who is known as Kcho.
Paret cited him as her personal favourite artist.
“(Kcho) has real expression in his art. He also has great pride in his people, which is important for us,” she said.
Other artists whose artworks were displayed at the event included Nelson Dominiguez, Diana Balboa and Carlos del Toro Orihuel, all of whom boast long-spanning careers in Cuba and internationally.
Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan officiated the event and proposed a toast to the well-being and prosperity of the Cuban government and the people.
Paret then offered a toast to Malaysia saying, “Next month will be the 39th anniversary of the relationship between Cuba and Malaysia.”
“We want to express our gratitude to the government and people of Malaysia. For Cuba, it is very important to keep this relationship,” she said.
To exemplify the Cuban-Malaysian
relationship, the entrance of the gallery held two large framed pictures.
One photograph featured former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad with Cuban leader Fidel Castro while the other depicted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with current Cuban leader Raul Castro.
Apart from the Cuban food and drink, the event boasted some traditional Cuban entertainment, with a performance by Alfredo Hernandez, his wife Jessica Hernandez, and Greisy Martin.
Alfredo said the exhibition was also important as it celebrated Cuba’s budding art culture.
“In Cuba, there is a strong art movement in all fields — music, painting, theatre and dance,” he said.
The National Day of Cuba marks the day in 1959 where Fidel Castro and his “26th of July Movement” successfully overthrew the Cuban government after six years of revolution against their oppressive regime.
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