ICAI is proud to announce that our Artist of the Month for December 2021 is Cuban author, multidisciplinary artist, and prolific storyteller Hebert Poll Gutiérrez.
We were very privileged that he found the time to meet with us and discuss his writing and the powerful connection between the public and his writing.
Tell us a little about your artistic background and journey?
I am a Cuban artist with 16 years of experience trying to connect with the world through writing and storytelling. I write for young and not so young audiences. My artistic language is clear, communicative, and even humorous, but I never forget that my commitment as a creator is to contribute to human enrichment.
My journey has been exciting, but it is not over yet. I have received applause, censure, but I am happy to remember the words of Charlie Chaplin:
Art is a journey that never ends. There is always something to say, to share through songs, poems and plays. I am an artist of any time who seeks to connect, to share my reality, and learn from other realities, contexts. We are in times of creating cultural bridges, not walls.
How long have you been in Canada?
I came to Canada last year.
Have you had opportunities to showcase your works since you arrived in Calgary?
Yes, I have. Thanks to several people and institutions that helped me when I arrived, that believed in my art. Among these institutions are: SpanicArts, Calgary Arts Development Authority, INDAI (International Network of Dance and Art Institutions), ExpresARTe Theatre Club, Black Theatre Company, CALTAC (Canadian Coalition Of Latin Theatre Artists), and the Montreal International Festival, where I participated with my projects Cuba Que Linda es Cuba: Confesiones de un Cubano sin Miedo and La Gran Carrera. I also presented my work SOS Cultura. Art Commons, which selected me for the Incubator Program 2021. Casa Mexico Foundation, for inviting me to their International Latin American Festival of Arts and Culture. And finally ICAI who have given me the opportunity to share my art.
Can you tell us what inspires you to create your works?
Life is my favorite muse. A restless and unsatisfied muse. My way of taming her is through my stories. She only asks me to open a dialogue with the public regardless of race, creed, or religion and to try to engage and teach all through art. To discuss: how to be and how to live together.
What are the challenges you are currently facing as an immigrant/newcomer artist?
Although I have had some acceptance with my works, there is still more to come. I cannot ignore that it is a different society, a society that sometimes is not interested in learning from other realities. But I am an artist, patient and resilient. Through art we can educate each other. As Brazilian philosopher Paulo Freire once said:
How do you feel being selected as the artist of the month?
It feels good. Connecting with the public, with other people from a different culture, is the best of any award. An organization like ICAI is necessary in a country where sometimes very talented immigrant artists cannot realize their dream because of some barriers they may encounter. ICAI gives you the chance to break down those walls, to stand up and say through art: I can, I can do it. ICAI's leadership has a social commitment to the artists who belong to its ranks and to those who aspire to be. It is a family that teaches you to be part of your new home through art.
What are the goals you are hoping to achieve in the next few months through your arts?
We would like to thank Hebert Poll Gutiérrez for his time and for this interview. You can find Hebert and his works at the following links: