Robaina's plantation

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Abel Galá Morejon (Pinar del Rio) Photographic Exhibit

                    I've always said that Art is everywhere in Cuba and I've on occasion mentioned a good friend of mine who gets a lot of things done for me in Pinar del Rio. These are pictures of a Photographic Exhibition called Huellas urbanas” that took place last year in Pinar del Rio. This is one of many such files that he loaded me up with. In this case the artist's name is Abel Morejón Galá. I was sent a blurb about the artist and this particular exhibition but rather than fumble with it through google translate and picking out pieces of it, I copied the translation in it's entirety below. I couldn't find anything on the internet about the artist except that he is from Pinar del Rio and a couple of sites that show some his work  if you want to check it out.

              Footprints is the living spirit of a memory that the viewer will want to convert to the memory of his own soul. The city as a Eleguá not perish, open all the paths of memory. The technique restless experimentation and creative arts is bound to one of the most meticulous Vueltabajo artists, his copious work today transcends local boundaries, accentuated with light itself in national and international arenas inspiration. Accustomed to confront recurring themes that dress color poetry, we get ready to enjoy a new proposal twisting forms to digital photography.
              The painter's craft no enclosing or simply explore new modes of expression, his creative originality is beyond the ability to discursar differently to the same viewer, with dissimilar visions of Cuba's Pinar del Rio and social reality. Abel Galá Morejon, sensitive muralist excellent draftsman and painter presents us with fifteen snapshots that reveal the capacity for synthesis and insightful compositional mastery, their teaching has offered valuable tools for timely communication with indestructible symbolic quality immense historical value and sentimental.
               Few were the times when I've been involved with so much interest in the work of an artist like this that builds and separates his work from all mercantilist banality. In his projects, both pictorial and photographic, that can be distinguished as his penchant for detail, action that exudes curiosity in poetry, art which can only be reached by light, passion and enthusiasm. The photographic image is comprised of recurring elements of our visual reality, each subject represented eternity demands a cleaner speech about the invisible man.
               Time has caught signal preserves the unit to reflect avoidable neglect and apathy, all the works illustrate the way to the deterioration and destruction of notable architectural buildings of national cultureLandscape and city's two ordinary spaces where the artist performs his first real contemplations to art, and it is there where also choose to shoot and reveal to the viewer, fragments of reality that are often ignored. The urban environment is inspiring footprint Abel, intensely evocative visual chronicler reflects urban decay, scenarios where it penetrates daily from monumental fragments, like pieces of a complex puzzle.
                His photographic approaches act as a delicate work of collecting nostalgic but uninhibited time in his young memory serves, of course, the memory of the other, the spectator who is able to perceive a familiar scenario there, apprehending universal, everyday and private. As silent Quijote offers a fresh look at city life, groping various ways trying to get away from the conventional belief in the importance and sacredness of the image, as an essential vehicle to translate emotions.
                 In the compositional structuring his works retain large cluster of feelings, the color comes from the action field will play free gaze purifies the essential vision of ruin and distress that mark urban decay as heartbreaking irony. From the intimacy of the space moving lines announce that light is doing over time.
                 Huellas Urbanas, vigorously renews the language of the urban landscape in Pinar del Rio. Contemplate the unseen from a mystical experience, part of the perfect, his inspiration lives in peace these deserts as the savior of identity; special aesthetic attitude directed towards the gravitation of the impossible, resurrection without metamorphosis, as a solid workaround for an apparent depth dialogue in the night in a state of grace, coined by the divine hand of Abel.
An ardent lover of his city, Abelito enroll in a unique way within this artistic tradition that has made photography a surefire way to address social problems, from acute to respond to your personal ethical view method.
                In his creations reflect the daily events from a critical perspective, sincere and thoughtful: lights and shadows that cause lights to cast shadows, as symbols doors that open and close, process and setbacks, the story of an ancient city...  His works are characterized by poetic testimony leave their personal experiences, allowing you to achieve a hallmark in Pinar del Rio visual creation. It captures the light with intelligence, clarity and a particular sensitivity denoting professional maturity.
                The color and shapes take over the space, revealing him as an artist with personality, forged with talent, imagination and originality, cast anchor in the convulsive waters of contemporary reality.
Owner of a new artistic language that works as a bridge between painting and photography, deploys a discourse with sharp precision, irony and rich sense of humor, to pay generously authentic grounds of this artistic creation. Huellas Urbanas' Artist requires legitimation of contemporary creation, has called us to discover the art from the beauty.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Cafencuentro (breakfast) Miramar, Havana

                 There's always talk about how bad the food is in Cuba. To some degree, the people who are saying this are not entirely incorrect. Usually they stay at a resort and the norm is that the food isn't the greatest. However, food in many restaurants in Havana (and to a lesser degree in other places around the country but not at the resorts) can be spectacular at times & with a variety that one doesn't expect from this island country. But there is one meal that elludes the Cubans and that is the breakfast. The resorts aren't too bad with this meal if the customer goes early enough (before the bacon becomes burnt to a crisp) and orders a 'made to order' omelette but outside these properties, even in Havana, breakfast done correctly (or close to it) is a hard find.
                  My girlfriend (who's Cuban) knows that I appreciate a nice breakfast. Heck, I've cooked enough of them for her that she's learned to appreciate them as well. Whenever she discovers a new spot that makes breakfast she checks it out for me (and herself). This spot is one of those places. I'm embarrassed to say that I don't have an exact address. It's located on Calle 3a somewhere between 82-86 on the south side of the street. It's a house, they converted the front part into a Ranchon (large covered patio) with tables, chairs, tv and sound system. The counter and bar I believe would have been the front door to the house, the veranda. It's a family run operation, the service is pleasant but everything takes a fair bit of time. The fresh juices and frappuccino especially took what seemed like forever....but they were worth the wait. The food itself also took a long time but was also worth waiting for. The only complaint I have about the food is the 'toast bread'. It was baguette cut in rounds and over toasted...hard as a rock, not good for dipping into the yolk for my taste.
                   The tv played the current Cuban music videos at a low volume and there was very little or no noise from the street with this not being a main throughfare. There were no other customers while we were there. It was late morning and they had opened the restaurant only the week before. I will be back in a couple of weeks and I can't imagine not coming here at least once while I'm in Havana. Let's see how the place has done and if they've kept up their standards. It's inexpensive and the numbers are in Cuban $$ so it's 25peso to 1cuc. I almost forgot to mention the coffee comes with a little cookie on the side....a nice touch. And by the way, they do Tapas as well.
                   In conclusion, I liked the place. It's only about 200 meters from where I stay and that makes it really convenient for me. I know I have to wait so I'll go with a cigar in hand and the time on hand with a little reserve of patience on the side. After all, the hard part was finding someone that has what I want, waiting a few extra minutes for it is no sweat....especially if I'm smoking something wonderful to pass the time. I'll do a followup post when I return from my next trip. Enjoy the limited pictures and I took pictures of the entire menu as well.

Friday 24 October 2014

Jose Fuster (Cuban Artist) A Visit

      Jose Fuster is one of the better know artists of Cuba. He has had such an impact on his community in Jaimanitas, Havana that you couldn't help but take notice. I've visited his home/studio several times and although it's never like the first time, it's always a pleasure for my eyes and soul to come here. I never know where to look, there's always so much going on here and sometimes he has a new project going on. I found Jose a little weak on this visit but he seemed to be in good spirits as he greeted the friends I brought along. Below are the links to my previous posts that will include some literature on the man as well. The pictures below are from my current visit.                                          

Thursday 23 October 2014

Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón (The Colon Cemetery) Havana

                This is a spot I've visited on several occasions and I still haven't seen it as I should. I've always come here in a bit of a rush and never really gone farther than maybe 20 meters to either side of the main road from the entrance to the Chapel that sits square in the middle of the property. Considering the cemetery is a half square kilometer, I've seen hardly anything.
                 The cemetery grounds are 56 hectares of land in a rectangular shape and in the center is the chapel. The 'Capilla Central' (chapel) opened it's doors in 1886. It's of Romanesque style, 28 meters high and with an octagonal base. When the cemetery was created, this part of Havana, the 'Vedado' district, was farmland or country. The rich would have had their country homes out this way. The area where the cemetery now sits had been set aside for this purpose since the mid 1800's. The church had bought these lands and the first stone was laid in 1871. However, the first burial took place in Nov. 1868. It was already being used as a cemetery 3 years before they started working on it.
                 This is definitely a catholic cemetery with it's many statues and sculptures depicting it's beliefs; angels, saints, Jesus and the Virgin Mary....  fill the landscape making it impossible to think of the influence being anything but Catholicism here. It's been ranked 3rd or 4th best in the world in beauty and importance. It has been dedicated to Christopher Columbus and it has been said that his ashes were in this cemetery at one time.
                  This cemetery is filled with history and as in the city it resides in where noble palaces in the most privileged areas border the poorest ones. Here in the cemetery you will find large monuments dedicated to those who left this earth next to the simplest of tombs. Here you can find Greco-Roman temples, an Egyptian pyramid, medieval castles and Renaissance crypts. Through time, famous; poets, illustrious educators, heroes of the Wars of  Independence, high ranking officers of the Spanish army, nobles and even contains the corpses of the US Marines that died on the Warship the 'Maine' which exploded in the Havana harbour in Feb. 1898.  They have all been brought here to slowly build this space to what it is today. Walking through this cemetery is like walking through the history of Cuba.
                  I must return and spend a couple of hours here to explore beyond the little I've seen. The entrance fee (no tour) is 5cuc and you can take pictures. They offer tours but I didn't check to see the when and how much. It's Cuba, it couldn't be that much.