In her practice Lorena Gutiérrez Camejo incorporates varying media and creative strategies that articulate her experience of life in Cuba and, in particular, reflections on power. Presented in the 10th Berlin Biennale is Gutiérrez Camejo’s eloquent ¿Dónde están los héroes? (Where are the heroes?, 2015–16). The work is a three-by-five-meter painting composed of 100 individual paintings. The composite work recalls the patterns and colors of the military rankings or “ribbons” worn on uniforms, marking achievement and status within a hierarchical order.
Whether based on real or fictional military adventures, the lack of any details in the painting, combined with its monumental size, brings to mind the present obscurity around Fidel Castro’s Cuba and its export of revolution and troops to aid in the liberation struggles of other Third World projects at the height of the Cold War. In the context of Cuba’s current situation, the work eludes to the ideologically driven activities governments undertake “on behalf” of their citizens and for their protection. Through the question in its title, the abstracted surface pattern transforms into a charged but open-ended statement, leaving viewers to ponder an answer.