Artist Tania Bruguera will have to remain in Cuba for at least 60 more days as prosecutors weigh charges against her, according to a statement issued by her sister Deborah Bruguera and the artist’s activism organization #YoTambienExijo (#IAlsoDemand).
Bruguera is a Cuban national but shows her work internationally and has lived for long spells in the U.S. and Europe. She was detained by Cuban authorities multiple times around New Year’s Day for attempting to stage a performance about free speech in Havana’s iconic Revolution Square.
The artist is now residing in Havana on conditional release as prosecutors decide whether to file formal charges, which could include inciting public disorder, resisting the police and inciting a crime.
In the statement, Bruguera said she has faced challenges trying to secure legal representation.
“It is very difficult to find a defense lawyer that would want to take my case since it is a state case against me,” she is quoted as saying. “Lawyers have told me it is a lost cause; others have told me that they are afraid of the professional consequences if they defend me.”
Bruguera is known internationally for staging provocative performances that explore social and political issues. In New York in 2011, she launched an immigrant rights movement in collaboration with the Queens Museum of Art. Last year, a piece titled “The Francis Effect” was shown at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. It consisted of a letter-writing campaign to Pope Francis to persuade the pontiff to give immigrants Vatican City citizenship as a gesture of protection.
In early January, the artist spoke with The Times about her detention.
“I really thought I could use the public space for this conversation,” she said then. “What I wanted to do was activate a metaphor, a way of saying: give people the power to say what they want.”
Find me on Twitter @cmonstah