by Mary Luz Borrego Díaz
For the last decades, craft works originated in Trinidad, Cuba, have become renowned both in the island and abroad. Many of them have been granted prizes at Havana’s International Craftsmanship Fair (FIART), the most important art event in the country.
According to Mercedes Martínez, comercial specialist from the Cuban Cultural Fund (FCBC) in Trinidad, since 2006 several local artist have been granted the highest awards like Pedro Hurtado and late Estervina Benitez, who were awarded the Prize for their Life Work for their palm tree (yarey)-made works.
Teresa Toscano was recipient of the UNESCO’s Excellence Award for Caribbean craftsmanship as well as the Prize to Craft Expertise granted by the National Center of Craftsmanship for her unraveled, embroidered and knitted works.
The Prize to Craft Expertise was also granted to the Santander family’s workshops. These people feature the strongest pottery tradition in the territory with over a century practice. They currently own several shops where they produce and commercialize clay items.
Zaida Ramos, Lucrecia Sandoval, Nayivis González and Robbins García also received this annual prize for their textile works.
Trinidad’s Projecto Agujas (Needle Project) was also granted recognition for the worked developed for the recovery of this tradition. The project groups 30 artisans, mostly women, who seek to revitalize the linen works.
Handicrafts development is closely connected to tourism in Trinidad, essentially in the most traditional local areas such as unraveled, clay and fibre works.