Robaina's plantation

Monday 29 April 2019

Taller Experimental de Grafica (Habana Vieja) April 2019

                   Jutting out from the side of the Plaza de La Catedral is a little dead end street called "Callejon del Chorro". Right at the very end of the street is the "Taller Experimental de Grafica". It was founded in 1962 with the support of Che Guevara (minister of industry at the time). It attracts many young artists & has become a meeting place for people in the arts. It's a workshop dedicating itself to the art of printmaking and one of the most important of it's kind. It uses old printmaking techniques and produces some of the most important works of art in Havana. Limited numbers of each print are made and some of the pieces are quite racy taking jabs at the current political situation in Cuba. I was actually surprised at some of the content that was allowed. There are a whole bunch of pictures hanging on walls as soon as you walk in & you can see the presses a little further down. The prices should be marked, they're fairly reasonable, if you wish to buy. I've read that they offer classes in engraving which in a month allows you to produce your own engraving plus copies for about 250cuc...I don't know if this still goes on. There's also a little gallery upstairs that offers pieces for the not so touristy tourist. I often think that I'll come here when I'm ready to decorate our house in Havana. I've always found many pieces that would interest me.
                 Printmaking in Cuba started in the 18th century and expanded in the 19th century with illustrations of sugar mills and cigar paraphernalia. After the last revolution in 1959, printmaking was introduced as a subject in art school and became a specialty in itself. When this shop opened it used the old printing stones and machines that were once utilized for the making of the decorations for cigar boxes. It's solely concentrated on artistic projects with contributions from some of the most important artists of the time.
                 You don't need to go out of your way to visit this place but if you come to see the Plaza de La Catedral (one of the most important squares in Havana) it's worth a moment to poke your head inside and walk around, nobody bothers you and there's no high pressure selling going on here. You can definitely include this in your visit to this part of the city along with other stops in and around the square such as; La Catedral (the church), Casa Lombillo (mansion turned into art gallery), La Bodequita del Medio (where the mojito was invented), Museo de Arte Colonial (Casa de Don Luis Chacón turned museum) and the Seminario de San Carlos y San Ambrosio (Private Roman Catholic seminary)....the Restaurant 'El Patio' makes a good cappuccino and just outside the Taller an assortment of restaurants have opened after the success of the popular paladar 'Dona Eutimia' which has been just outside the doors of the gallery for a number of years. You could easily spend a good part of the day roaming around this square.

Taller Experimental de Grafica
Callejón del Chorro No 6
Habana Vieja
+53 7 862 0979
Hours: 9:30am-4pm Mon-Fri
Admission: No Charge

Partagas LCDH (Havana) April 2019

                   The first time I entered a LCDH, besides the one in Toronto, was this one here in Havana in 2003. At that time the famous Abel Esposito was the manager of the shop. I was made to feel welcome and soon after that I was part of the Partagas family. I have forged many friendships since then, both with workers and visitors and continue to do so. Most of the people that worked here back then have moved on but one thing remains the same, that feeling of family and friendship. It is by far the best place to meet friends and have a smoke or even if I'm by myself, I'm never by myself when I come to Partagas. There's never been a time when I haven't been made to feel welcome.....even when I come several times a week. As far as cigars go, they always have an excellent stock and if you're a regular looking for something special, chances are if they don't have it, they can probably locate it for you. If custom rolls are what you're after, one of the best house rollers in the city (or country) works right here at Partagas. La China, as she's known to everyone, is world renowned  for her custom rolled cigars and if you've ever had the opportunity to smoke one you know why. I have many memorable experiences since first stepping foot in this shop and when I'm feeling a little down I almost always think back and recall some of them to cheer me up. I miss you Partagas and all of you who work there.

'La Casa del Habano'
Calle Industria no.52,
Havana, Cuba
Tel: +537 862 3772