Five Days in Havana: Part Three

Five Days in Havana: Part Three

In this post, I’ll discuss public art in Havana, Cuba. If you’re visiting this post on your cell phone coming from Facebook, be sure to swipe left through photo groups when you see the bouncing right-facing arrow.

Public Art in Havana

If you read my last post, you can imagine that there isn’t much “official” public art in Havana. (Especially that is not political or religious.) There is a museum of art, but I don’t classify that as public art. My definition of public art is art that is outdoors.

One of the few pieces of public art I saw was this sculpture made from recycled metal called “Primavera” (“Spring” in Spanish). Cuban sculptor, Rafael San Juan, created the piece for the 12th Havana Biennial celebration as a tribute to Cuban women. It is lovely and stands against a contrasting-colored wall.

Primavera sculpture in Havana

Another piece of art that surprised me was a multi-headed street light. I almost missed it as it was in a very unassuming location. As it turns out, this was originally placed near the Malecón by artist Rafael Villares. What likely happened was that when the exhibition was finished, they just threw it on this patch of pavement. I would be surprised if the lights are still attached to electricity.

Multi-headed street lamp in Havana

This terrifying statue is parked at the student residences at a “Cultural Complex”. (I haven’t figured out what this place is yet, and the plaque is missing from the statue.) This statue is hideous, perhaps made more so over time from car exhaust and such.

Scary sculpture in Havana

The following bronze statue is located in Old Havana Square. It also has no plaque or explanation of any kind. It depicts a naked woman holding a giant fork while sitting atop an oversized rooster. I did find that it was created by Roberto Fabelo, a contemporary Cuban artist. He mostly paints, and he includes a huge number of naked women in his paintings. My personal interpretation of this sculpture is, “Fork you! We can’t help that you’re naked and hungry. We suggest you buy some chickens.”

Rooster statue in Havana

I did also see a cool statue of Don Quixote, but I was too tired to take a photo.

Street Art

Most of the rest of the art I saw in public appeared to be guerrilla art. Much of it seemed to be painted by the same person or at least in the same style.

Havana street art

Havana street art

What I love about the next one is that it appears there was a mural underneath that was plastered over to paint a different mural. I love how the old mural peaks through.

Havana Street Art

These all look like they are painted against a backdrop of destruction.

Havana Street Art

Havana Street Art

Havana Street Art

The next one is probably my second favorite. I particularly love the placement and shading. It’s a fine piece of artwork. My absolute favorite is the last in this section.

Havana Street Art

The next group consists of artwork located in a small artists’ enclave in Havana Vieja.

Havana Street Art

Havana Street Art

Havana Street Art

Then some random pieces I passed on the street.

Havana Street Art

Havana Street Art

Havana Street Art

Havana Street Art

And this next one is my absolute favorite. Some of it has been destroyed, but it seems to be a woman lifting her shirt to reveal that each breast is a sharp-toothed beast.

Havana Street Art

Architectural Art

Another type of art that is “public” is architectural art. With many buildings in disrepair, it was often only snippets of beauty that I found among the “ordinary” buildings. Some ornate tile here. A beautiful decoration there.

Havana architectural art

Havana architectural art

Havana architectural art

Havana architectural art

Havana architectural art

Havana architectural art

These were a couple newer/updated buildings that I found creative.

Havana architectural art

Havana architectural art

This building’s entryway seems to have been wallpapered with some old documents.

Havana architectural art

Someone gave me directions one day that cut through a building. While walking through a passageway to the next street, I came upon this tiled bench with a tile painting above it. It was so random! Notice also all the bare wires hanging above it inside the building.

Havana architectural art

I hope you enjoyed these photos! Everything was so interesting to look at, as you can see. The public art in Havana often snuck up on me, and I enjoyed seeing it immensely.

One Reply to “Five Days in Havana: Part Three”

  1. I enjoyed your series and especially the writing so much. It was just so …. um…. ‘well, it spoke the wonder and interest and bafflement and appreciation– all at once. It gave balanced, deliciously quirky narrative, to a quirky place. Very well done. This should be expanded into a book, which will do well, as travel to this little piece of strangeness picks up.

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