After the multi-award-winning first two series, featuring the likes of Damon Albarn, Penny Martin, Stefan Sagmeister, Tom Dixon and Nancy Tilbury, now the Creative Class is another way in with series 3 which Gilles Peterson has been able to shine a light on the eclectic range of talents who are shaping Cuba’s contemporary creative landscape.
As part of his role as creative director of WeTransfer, Gilles selected five people immersed in the country’s shifting cultural trends and went to Havana to hear their stories, see how they’ve innovated within their fields despite restricted technological developments and limited access to the internet.
What is striking in each interview is the fluid combination of past, present and future. Each subject acknowledges Cuba’s unique cultural context but sees the benefits as much as the challenges this has brought.
The lead dancer of Raíces Profundas, one of Cuba’s most respected dance troupes. Founded in 1975, the group is renowned for its ability to take viewers on a journey through Cuba’s musical heritage, and its dancers are famous for their intense dedication. Few though possess the exuberant energy that Ildolidia brings to her performances.
As a musician, DJ, producer and TV host, few people have their finger on Cuba’s musical pulse better than Edgaro Gonzales. His hip hop group Doble Filo is one of the country’s most popular acts and he has played a key role in bringing together Cuban sounds and international influences to create cutting-edge new music.
Idania del Río
Idania del Río opened Cuba’s first independent design shop Clandestina, and as such is one of the leading voices in Havana’s contemporary visual scene. Her business sells products predominantly designed by young women and she has helped build a creative community that is redefining what Cuban design means to the wider world.
Conceptual artist Wilfredo Prieto is one of the most intriguing creatives working in Cuba today. Trained as a painter, his work now sits somewhere between installation, sculpture and performance. He reimagines found objects and ordinary scenarios to make satirical points and his work has been exhibited around the world.
Creative entrepreneur Susu Salim must be one of the best-connected people in Havana. She spent several years working for Vistar, Cuba’s trailblazing culture magazine which defied the national ban on indie publications. Susu now organises club nights and manages local musicians among her various other roles.
About “Creative Class Series”
The Creative Class highlights influential and innovative creatives from a broad range of disciplines. Filmed in their own surroundings, each subject shares their thoughts on their practice, their process and how technology is changing the way they work.
The series is named after the group identified by Richard Florida in 2002, the so-called creative class of designers, artists, technologists and academics who would dominate and define our post-industrial cities.