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Hitting the Streets: Havana, Cuba

Blog

Notes on our journey, process, artists, and places we go.

 

Hitting the Streets: Havana, Cuba

Amisha Patel

El Che

El Che

Havana is a place like no other-- especially now as it sits on the precipice of change.** It is no wonder why a long list of artists and writers have been inspired by its constant thrum of music, magical light, astounding diversity and Romantic ideas. The revolutionary spirit is alive and well on Havana's walls, where the city's people find original ways to express themselves in the face of the government's soft censorship.  It's true what everyone says about the mediocre food and the sex tourists, but brave both and fuel yourself on mojitos for an unforgettable ride (in one of those bitchin, gas guzzlin old cars).

garbage cans

Spotted the remains of a piece JR and Jose Parlá did for the Havana Biennale in 2012.  This was part of Wrinkles of the City, for which the artists photographed and recorded 25 senior citizens who had lived through the Cuban revolution.

JR + Jose Parla, Felix Rivera Ramirez. Wrinkles of the City. Havana, Cuba 2012

JR + Jose Parla, Felix Rivera Ramirez. Wrinkles of the City. Havana, Cuba 2012

In 1990, artist Salvador Gonzales Escalona began transforming Callejon de Hamel, an alley in a dodgy part of town, into a vibrant Afro-Cuban cultural center and a living piece of art, using found objects like bathtubs for sculptures and all kinds of available paint for murals including car enamel.

Callejon de Hamel

Callejon de Hamel

Social justice posters for sale in Plaza de las Armas. The OSPAAL ones are the best.

Viva la revolucion

Viva la revolucion

**  For the record, this trip to Cuba was planned before the US government announced sweeping changes to its policies on travel for US Citizens to Cuba but happened after the announcement and before Paris Hilton showed up.