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.

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