Thursday, March 31, 2016

While you were writing ...

When I left for Cuba, it was winter.

When I came back from Cuba,
it was wet and cold - 
typical post-winter
or pre-spring
in the Lou
depending on how optimistic you're feeling.
 But while I was writing about Cuba,
re-living all the highlights,
spring burst forth in all its glory.
And it's magnificent!
Viburnum, lilacs and dogwood are right around the corner ...
stay tuned.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Art in Cuba

I'm not an artist.
I've gotten better about accepting 
that I can color outside the lines, 
attempt to create something 
and have Epic Fails.
 I have nothing but admiration for folks
in every country
who take visions in their heads 
and translate those images through canvas or clay;
who put themselves out there,
saying "here's how I see things,
love it or hate,
it's my view of the world
in this moment and time".

I was curious to see how the creative spark was encouraged 
or repressed 
in Cuba;
how art flourished
 and in what form 
when so much of human expression is forbidden.

I knew a piece of artwork was the only souvenir I'd bring back
to remember my time in Cuba.
 I expected color
and, since its what I prefer,
naive or unschooled artists. 

While there were many galleries and museums 
offering all kinds of visions
in all types of mediums,
 many of the offerings for tourist consumption seemed formulaic.
 Take a car from the 50's,
stick it in front of a historic building
and paint it in primary colors.
Modern day paint by numbers.

Which is why finding some alternative artists was so much fun.

One artist in Cienfuegos took striking medieval images
and techniques,
added bits of contemporary culture 
and created paintings that provoked and delighted
in equal measure.
Other artists ran the gamete
Some artists were even brave enough 
to take on political themes -
even publicly.
There were several pieces I would have brought home in a heartbeat - 
if price or size weren't limitations.

The ones that got away ...
But don't feel too badly for me.
I brought home the impressionist sunflowers
at the beginning of the post
as well as
I was instantly attracted to it - 
without being able to say why;
until I got home and had more time to look at it closely.

That's when I figured it out.
It's my career!
The big four footed creature,
forging ahead, 
trying hard to ignore  - 
not a dangling carrot that keeps her going -
but yet another child that needs to be freed...

should be good for several sessions 
with my therapist!

This collage also made it back to the States
and it's not hard to figure out the meaning at all!

Truly, there was something for everyone.

Because so many Saturdays are Holy Saturdays

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Last day in Cuba

Can you tell I'm reluctant to leave the island?

The days had gone by too quickly;
time to explore new places
with new friends 
had been too short.
Returning to work was right around the corner...
but not yet.

Time for one more performance by young folk dancers
and more beauty to see in Cienfuegos 
before getting on the plane.

I might have gotten the timing wrong on when we saw this set of dancers.
I think we saw them the night before;
I suspect you don't care 
about the correct sequencing  of events,
you just want a sense of what I saw, right?
The key to enjoying another country is flexibility!

There were still more sights to see.
 There may have been another mojito involved.
 More reminders that it's not all tourism
Cuba didn't want us to leave either -
there was a delay of several hours once we got to the airport;
the result of our charter plane being delayed in Miami.

I think Cuba just wanted to give us one more sunset
 and the chance to practice our patience 
and flexibility some more!

Clearly some of us are better at that than others.
 My time in Cuba did, sadly, come to an end. 

That won't stop me from looking back
 and planning another trip back.
There's still too much else that beckons -
other beaches,
Santiago de Cuba,
a better understanding of Yorbu-Afro Cuban spirituality
and practices ...
 they're neighbors -
and it's always good to know your neighbors!
One more post this weekend about artistic expression in Cuba -
and pictures of some of the art I didn't bring back -
and some images of what I did.

Thanks for being with me as I re-visit this lovely island!