Singing from the Well

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Date: 1967 - present

Region: Central America and the Caribbean

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion Sexual/Gender Orientation

Medium: Literature


Artist: Reinaldo Arenas (1943 - 1990)

Confronting Bodies: Cuban government

Dates of Action: 1967 to present

Location: Cuba

Description of Artwork: Arenas' books are known for their blasphemy, abuse, political contempt and denounciation of the Cuban government. He has been celebrated for continuing the tradition of baroque and densely constructed novels that join Cuban and universal issues through artistic treatment of popular culture and imagination.

The Incident: Even though his first novel, Singing from the Well (1967) was celebrated internationally, Arenas was persecuted when Cuban officials denounced and attacked homosexual writers. All of his works following Singing from the Well were banned from publication in Cuba. Arenas was imprisoned in 1973 and exiled from Cuba in 1980 coming to the United States on the Mariel Boatlift.

Results of Incident: Arenas' novels have been published throughout the world and have won numerous literary awards. He is one of the most notable Cuban writers. Arenas died of AIDS in 1990 in New York City.

Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones; Wikipedia