A Huge Open-air Canvas
WALLS, DOORS AND ALLEYWAYS TELL STORIES THAT TRANSFORM THIS 500 YEARS OLD CITY INTO A GREAT LABORATORY FOR VISUAL ARTS
Each city has its own essence, smell, its accurate definition of joy. Being named one of the seven New Wonder Cities of the Modern World has been the perfect nod to show all the beauties that make you fall in love with Havana, which transforms it into a huge laboratory for visual arts. Painting such diverse, photogenic routine makes us unique and authentic.
No one trying to explore this capital city would miss open-air places, which portrait throughout colors or shades of grey Havana's present life. Walls, doors, and alleyways tell stories that may well be labeled as intangible heritage of the nation, as they have built our character.
If we could associate places with colors, the Callejon de Hamel (Hamel Alley) would be a dazzling yellow. Located on
Reinvigorating a street that had fallen into oblivion and transforming it into a huge living Art Gallery, where the community is part of the cultural project itself
Aramburu and Hospital Streets, Centro Habana municipality, this is the first mural art in the form of wall paintings devoted to Afro-cuban culture, a kind of sanctuary to those proud of their roots. The colors decorating its walls depict a unique symbol of the cultural and religious syncretism of Cuba. Paintings replicate Gods and Orishas, spiritual symbols, animals, poems or legends written about them on subjects such as love, dignity, and life.
Reinvigorating a street that had fallen into oblivion and transforming it into a huge living Art Gallery, where the community is part of the cultural project itself, is to Salvador Gonzalez Escalona's credit. The Hamel Alley never rests as it is —all day long— full of life, music, dance, and exhibitions.
Meanwhile, the red color beats to the rhythm of the walls of Fabrica de Arte (FAC), full of energy and risks. There —11th Street, Vedado neighborhood, Havana— a warehouse stands, which is now “alive; a space full of creative and experimental freedom” thanks to the efforts of its founder, musician X Alfonso. So much so that Times magazine recently included once again FAC among the world's top-100 best places.
The beautiful mural surrounding FAC seduces passers-by enjoying the poetic convergence of its visual landscapes. Thanks to the project Se permuta, coordinated by Brazilian artist Maria Eduarda Belem and Cuban David Alfonso Suarez, living in Recife, artists from Pernambuco and Cuba exchanged esthetics in 2018 and left their legacy in the walls of this colossal project. Today, it stands undamaged, preserved, as a reminder of how crucial alliances are.
And as the evergreen of hope, it is the time of San Isidro de Arte, initiative led by actor Jorge Perugorria and his Galeria Taller Gorria (GTG), which has opened its doors to the best contemporary artists of Cuba and has promoted members of the community, inspired by this unique graffiti movement encouraged by Perugorria family. International renowned artists like New Yorker Stephen Palladino —he has worked with Lady Gaga and his gangsters' portraits are worldwide known—, Mexican Paola Delfin, Brazilian Mateus Bailon, Belgian Caratoes, and American Abstrk have reached this corner in the Old Havana.
Definitely, the white color with such light of innocence and purity defines the faces of children in houses and buildings façades. In 31st Avenue, corner of 42th Street; 19th Street, corner of 70th Street; or 51st Street between 120th and 122nd Streets, the childlike looks of kids remind us of every child's huge humanity. They look like large scale pencil drawings, with fine lines, but vivid expressions, enough to amaze the most distracted passer-by.
And thus, each mural, graffiti, and all visual art embellishing our daily symphony treasures its own shades. But blue is Havana's most representative color as its sea, sky, irreverence, hug, and harmony are constantly lighting up and everything proves Havana is a Wonder City.
Muros, paredes, puertas y callejones cuentan historias. / Walls, doors and alleyways tell stories.