Robaina's plantation

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Mabel Poblet (Cuban Artist) Havana

                    Mabel Poblet was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba in 1986. She graduated from the most prestigious fine arts school in Cuba, the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes "San Alejandro" in Havana and later the Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA) in 2012. She has won many prizes through the years and since graduating has had her works shown in the United States, Europe as well as many locations in Cuba, especially Havana. She will be representing Cuba at the 2017 Venice Biennale.
                    I've noticed this artist's pictures hanging on the walls of properties in Havana (mostly the Hotel Melia Cohiba 2nd floor) for a few years now. They're quite distinguishable among works of other artists as you can see from the pictures below. A lot of her creations are encased in wood boxes (frames) with a plexiglass front in order to show what's inside. She'll use bits and pieces of coloured plastic and metal and usually a use of light to project the collage to the viewer almost like a 3D image. She uses herself as the model in most if not all cases. I've often confessed that I know nothing about art but I really like Mabel's work, it's big, bold and colourful and for the small minded person like myself it doesn't require a great deal of interpretation. The pictures below were taken through the years and a few in her studio in Miramar, Havana. Her information is show below if you're interested in purchasing or inquiring about any of her art. They'll be more than happy to receive you at the studio. I've also seen her art sold on the internet by various sources.

As quoted by Mabel describing her creations...."My work is based on experiences of my life and the incidence of these memories transformed into works that somehow determine the present. I allude also to acts both intimate and superficial, the results of emotional relationships with individuals that provoke me. I am interested in the ability of the mind to violate physical laws and the possibility of multidimensional mental time (as an object, the human mind can also move, diffuse and fragmented). I use reiteration to reconstruct events by retrieving mental images that might have been erased from memory over time. The fact of running time becomes one of the protagonists of my work, gathering memories and forgetting in the same sense."....taken from book "Cutting Edge Art in Havana".

Mabel Poblet studio
Calle 3ra no.805 e/8 y 10
Miramar, Playa, Havana
phone: +53(7)202-6329

'Falsa Apariencia' from the series 'Desapariencia' 2015

Desolada, 2015

'Sussuro' from the series 'Desapariencia' 2014

'Trilliza' from the series 'Desapariencia' 2013

'Trilliza' from the series 'Desapariencia' 2014

 Falsa Apariencia 2013

Oceanscape, 2016

In and Out

'Una Simple Palabra' from the series 'Desapariencia' 2015

Farmacia Droguería Johnson (Havana) Calle Obispo

                  If you take a walk along Calle Obispo you're likely to pass the Johnson Drugstore. The building, a solid structure of concrete and steel, can easily be missed. However, if the doors are swung open as you're looking in that direction, the rows of ceramic jars lined up on the back wall may catch your eye. There are so many things that can distract you along Obispo and while the pharmacy's building may be nondescript, the interior isn't. It's caught my eye on several occasions, prompting me to enter and take a few pictures. I would like to mention that this Johnson has nothing to do with 'Johnson & Johnson' the American Multinational Company.
                  Dr Manuel Serafin Johnson Larralde (born in Matanzas, Cuba 1860, died in Havana, 1922) graduated as a Doctor of Pharmacy in 1883 and gave back to the community by teaching at the University of Havana thereafter. The Johnson Pharmacy was founded in 1886 and opened it's doors at it's current location in 1914. The Johnson family were not only manufacturers and dispensers of pharmaceuticals, they also made a variety of other products such as; perfumes, serums, insecticides and disinfectants, to name a few. The family's dedication to the trade and quality of their work made them extremely popular in Havana. Of the 5 Johnson children, all of them became pharmacists and 4 of them went on to continue their father's work. Between September and October of 1960, the Pharmacy was nationalized and what was left of the family is thought to have left Cuba for the United States. Nothing is known about what happened to them afterwards.
               The pharmacy was restored by the Office of the Historian in 2000 but on March 14, 2006, a fire severely damaged many of the historical pieces inside. Thanks to some hard work from dedicated individuals, the doors of the museum re-opened in 2012 with many of the original artifacts being rescued, some of them on display bearing the scars of the fire. This is one of several similar institutions of it's kind, part of a network of pharmacy museums that were all restored by the Office of the Historian of the City. It only takes a couple of minutes and is worth going inside if you see it as you walk by.

Entrance: free

Calle Obispo No.260 esq. Calle Aguiar,
Habana Vieja, Havana

Other similar Pharmacies located at:

Taquechel Pharmacy
Obispo #155, e/ Mercaderes y San Ignacio

Farmacia Habanera La Reunión
Teniente Rey esq. a Compostela

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Bella Ciao (Italian Restaurant) Havana

                    Bring an appetite or prepare to bring food home because the portions are way too large for a single person to our opinion. The restaurant has a small wine list but it's reasonably priced, however, the outdoor seating is like being on the patio of a fast food restaurant. The indoor, air-conditioned, non-smoking area looked better....but I smoke cigars. The service was prompt and knowledgeable about the food (I later saw him cooking my order) but a little rough around the edges. They weren't happy that we were there at 3 in the afternoon (my fiance overheard our waiter bitching to someone about why people were having lunch at that hour of the day), when everyone should be doing siesta. There were a lot of things I could have gone for on the menu, so many good things to choose from. The delicious starters came quickly and were enormous, neither one of us could finish them, as with our pizzas. The pizza itself was large, with a few bald spots, the ingredients were enough for a smaller other words, there weren't enough ingredients on our pizzas.
                    This restaurant is far from the touristy areas of Havana, I came here because I had a meeting at this spot. I probably won't return but if you're in the area and see the sign, it's worth stopping in. I can't guarantee what kind of experience you're going to have, the write-ups I've read have been either really good or horrific but at least the food is good.

Hours of Operation: noon till midnight

Bella Ciao
Calle 19 y 72,
Miramar, Havana
Tel: +53 7 2061406

Giglio Salad (Shrimp & Avocado) 8.50

Livornese Salad (Octopus, Potato and White Beans) 13.00

Pizza Baba 8.50

Pizza Montalcino 8.50

Indoor A/C Non-Smoking