Whilst in Havana, we saw many examples of collage as a contemporary form of art. Three examples caught our attention. Beautiful women, Havana Club rum, perfect mojitos, music everywhere and text from newspapers and magazines. It reminds us of a Cuban singer we once heard sing. He called himself the Cuban Johnny Cash. His voice was deep and rich and powerful when he spoke and when he sung those lovely old Cuban songs. He said his voice came from years of Cuban rum and cigars. Old world Cuba and Juventud Rebelde – Rebellious Youth – this is the Cuba of today, a mix of the past entwined the the present..
The large collage work above is by female artist Yunes Cura. It is called “De la Serie Hola: She Goes to Hollywood,” (2011), measuring 170 x 150 cm. The first two works in collage are works of art featured at the Havana art gallery El Trasgu’s opening exhibit. The photograph below is collage also by Ms Cura, entitled “De la Serie Hola: Go!,” (2011), measuring 165 x 128cm. Construction: Mixed media on canvas.
Both works of art by Ms Cura – are large works and a very interesting assembly of provocative images and text. If you think Cuba today is a lot of sad people living under a dictatorship, you could be totally incorrect. Life, as always, is much more complex than the simplistic view of the Island to the south from the North. You see the same issues and concerns of youth anywhere, any place in the world. Everything is in its art – it always has been. It is vibrant and cultural and so wonderfully alive. Art will explain history much better than the historians.
The El Trasgu Gallery, one of the art galleries in Havana, is owned by curator Hilda M. Barrio. Ms Barrio promotes the art of young upcoming Cuban artists. The exhibition we visited went by the name of “Colorful,” showing Cuba and its youth as portrayed by young artists. The gallery is located in old Havana in a beautiful old renovated building with its entrance on the Paseo del Prado at the corner of Virtudes. El Trasgu Art Gallery opened its doors December, 2011.
The image above is by Cuban artist Alicia Perera, a female artist from Havana with a studio in Cojimar on the coast of Cuba about an hour’s drive away. Cojimar is the town where American writer Ernest Hemingway made his home. We were on our way to visit his house. This mixed media collage is on canvas, made with acrylic paint and the images which symbolize a nostalgic definition of the things we love about Cuba or, more specifically, Havana.