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The City of Miami
Leeds Colby Paris Spence Hoffman & Valori, P.A.

¡ Celebra Libertad !
(Celebrate Freedom !)

an exhibit of Miami artist

Xavier Cortada's

"Painted Cuban Plane"
"Freedom Luggage Installation"


May 20 -23, 2004

(by invitation on May 19th at 6 pm)

Elizabeth Virrick Hangar
2600 South Bayshore Drive
Coconut Grove, Florida



Please click here to read artist's statement.

Click here to see ¡Celebra Libertad! gallery

¡Celebra Libertad
! features Xavier Cortada's painted airplane:  his painting on the actual Russian Antonov-2 Colt airplane that brought a family from Cuba to the United States.

Cortada will also be the presenting 45 pieces of luggage numbered sequentially from 1959 to 2004, representing each year the Cuban community has been in exile.  Each piece will include letters from exiles describing their diaspora.




Exiles wishing to participate are asked to write  letters  with their name and date of departure and the answer to two broad, open-ended questions:

       What did you leave (in Cuba)?
       What did you find when you arrived?

(see mailing directions below)

The letters will then be sorted by year and placed in the piece of luggage corresponding to the year of the letter’s author departure from Cuba; each of the 45 pieces of luggage will be numbered sequentially from 1959 to 2004. 

 (A 46th piece of luggage will be set aside for letters of support/letters about freedom from people who didn’t necessarily leave Cuba, but have a strong connection with those who did).

Each of the 45 pieces of luggage will be arranged chronologically on pedestals circling the painted airplane.  Those attending the event will be invited to walk up to each piece of luggage and pick up the letters and read them.  It may be overwhelming for some to see so many letters detailing the struggle of a people starting anew, the sacrifice of families separated by the regime, the baggage that haunts them to the day.  But in every way, it will also make a strong case as to why those people had no choice but to get on that plane—or on a raft—and journey towards freedom.


Letters can be sent electronically by visiting:


Handwritten, one-page letters should be mailed to:

Leeds Colby Paris Spence
Hoffman & Valori P.A.

2950 SW 27 Avenue
Suite 300
Miami, FL 33133

attn: Xavier Cortada's Art Installation



News Articles:

Exiles' plane to symbolize Cuban thirst for freedom, by Elaine de Valle.  Published on May 9, 2004 by The Miami Herald, Miami, FL


Un avión se convierte en obra pictórica, by Noel Sanchez. Published on May 8, 2004 by El Nuevo Herald, Miami , FL

Seized Cuban crop-dusting plane reassembled as piece of art,  by Associated Press.
Published May 10, 2004 in the St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, FL.

Cuban plane becomes art,  by Associated Press. Published May 10, 2004 in the Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee, FL

  click here for more media on Cuban Plane



Please click here to learn more about the project



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Xavier Cortada has exhibited his works in museums, galleries, and cultural venues around the world and has pioneered the use of the Internet in collaborative art-making. The Miami-based Cuban-American artist, attorney, and activist has worked collaboratively with diverse groups across the United States, Latin America, Europe and Africa to create pro-social community murals and participant-driven art projects. 

Cortada has created murals for:

The White House
Global Health Council
World AIDS Conferences
Miami-Dade County Juvenile Courthouse
Miami-Dade Art in Public Places
Miami Art Museum

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Copyright © 1997-2004 by Xavier Cortada. All rights reserved.