Thursday, January 26, 2012

Art I bought in Cuba

I had a couple of objectives on my trip to Cuba.  One was to paint a mural, which didn't actually happen...but I am OK with that.  It was to be in the artist community at Muraleando.  We did glaze some tiles that will be part of the mural eventually.  I just feel that means I have to go back!   

The other objective was to connect with Cuban artists.  That was very successful.  I bought four pieces of art from artists who I really care about and who I want to keep as friends.  Oh, and the art is very fun!

Here's a very colorful acrylic painting...with collage elements by my dear friend Nivia.  She is really a wonderful artist and we have established some e-mail communication.  I am pretty excited by that.

I also bought a "portrait" by one of our guides, Victor.  It is interesting, and he explained the allegorical implications of the woman's hat being a home on her head and the fact that leaves for hair indicate she is still growing.  There is more, but it was pretty complicated.

Yoan was one of the very special people I met.  He is a ceramicist, and helped us to glaze the tiles.  He also became a good friend and helped me with transportation of a carryon that had been filled with art supplies, Yoan made sure I always had a good seat for various presentations.  I think he particularly liked me because I brought some high quality ceramic glazes and he got to keep what we didn't use.  He also gave me a little ceramic dish, which I will write about on the Plum Gallery blog, but this is a lithograph print I bought from him.

Nivia's husband made a lineoleum print I especially liked, and so I brought it back.  I love the way the chicken uses a saddle to ride the fish!

Hope you enjoyed a little Cuban art.  I do.  It always cheers me up.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Trip to Cuba - Part 2

My favorite thing in Cuba was Muraleando.  It was such a great experience to see a community where "art rules."  I wanted the above photo of me with a "mood selector" in Muraleando because it is one of the few things I had seen on the internet about Muraleando.  The arrow was missing, but my mood was "amistoso"---friendly.  Muraleando is actually part of an area called Lawton---please don't ask me to explain that!   Several years ago, people started painting murals in this neighborhood to make it look more lively.  The idea caught on and thrives.  

A couple of years ago, Manolo (who is kind of the executive director of what is going on) had an idea to take an abandoned water tank in the neighborhood and clean it out and turn it into a gallery/classroom.  It is called "El Tanque."  This is a view of the structure, with the courtyard in front where there are art activities, dancing and music.

On the inside it is a gallery/classroom.  Below is a picture taken on the inside on the day that we glazed some tiles made by a previous group.  On a future trip, the tiles will be incorporated into a mural.  

I hope to return to Muraleando, and work on murals.  During the month of April, people come from all over the world to work on them.  An obelisk outside documents countries that have participated.  Countries are listed on all four sides.

If you want to see more pictures, check out my Picasa album, Trip to Cuba December 2011.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Trip to Cuba- Part 1

I took a trip to Cuba in December and have been so busy since I got back that I haven't been able to catch up and make posts on my travel blog.  I had no internet access during the trip.  When I came back, it was time to get ready for Christmas, then New Year's, and then the Rose Ball...all keeping me busy and in touch with people I love.  There will be more than one travel post about Cuba, because we did and saw a lot.

Now's a good time to reflect on what I saw.  I cannot forget Havana.  It was once a beautiful city, and parts of it, such as Old Havana, still are. It has a Spanish colonial style.  Very classic. This is the Capitol:

But we also saw a lot of crumbling buildings.  It was surprising to realize people were living in buildings that had already started to come down.

We visited David's friend Richard.  This was David's fifth trip to Cuba and he had met Richard on a previous trip.  To get to Richard's apartment, we had to walk up a spiral staircase without a hand rail.  The first time we did it was in the dark, so I didn't even know what it was really like.  I didn't realize that it was propped up with a two by four until we came back on another day when there was more light.  I took some pictures:

When we did get in the apartment, it was very small--I think less than 200 square feet--and very sparse. Four people live there--Richard, his wife and two children.  I got the impression that they are a fairly typical family.  Despite their challenging living conditions, they were very happy and welcoming were all the Cubans we met.

I learned that the Cubans have a great love of children and family, and they really don't seem to be concerned about material things. I noticed that there is virtually no advertising.  There are billboards, but they have mottos encouraging people to support others in their community or to value education.  Some had pictures of Fidel and quotes from him.  I got the message that humanistic concepts are valued more than things.  More later.