While visiting Cuba, one of the best things you will discover is the colossal amount of talents its people have. Among them is the art of painting and sculpture. These photos are examples of some of the Cuban art styles I found in the Pearl of the South, Cienfuegos.
On a hot January day, while visiting the southern city of Cienfuegos, we stopped for a refreshing drink at Bar Palatino. Just next to it, it was the Cuban equivalent of Alladin’s Cave. An arts and crafts shop, evidently oriented towards the tourists touring the city.
With the first step inside, I found a universe of colours that I have never imagined possible. The storylines of the paintings were so diverse and the painter’s styles so different from one another, that I stood in front of them in a wordless admiration for what felt like timelessness.
Many of the paintings were in the typical tourist art scenes I have seen elsewhere in the country. Old American cars on the backdrop of a typical Cuban setting.
Cuban Art is Characterised by Diversity in Styles and Boldness of Colours
There were portraits and caricatures, and vibrant colours in bold combinations. There was a wealth of emotions and subtly incorporated messages in these paintings.
Most of the painters are simple people that just try to make ends meet. Very few names are known and it looks like Cuban people carry their talents from generation to generation.
The rich cultural heritage of Cuban people brings African, European and American cultures together. That creates a unique artistic blend that surprises with interpretations of the world and the things in it.
What you see here is mostly the ‘tourist’ art that although is joyful might be too simplistic for some. As the wealth of talent in Cuba is full to the brim, the professional creators bring into existence sophisticated and deeply philosophical art.
The Bienal de la Habana first started in 1986 and takes place every two years. It displays the contemporary Cuban art centered on a theme. In 2015, its 11th edition, hosted 114 artists from 45 countries. As Culture Trip wrote, it did put Cuban art at the forefront of the contemporary culture.
If you visit Cienfuegos, have a look at the art shops around the park Jose Marti. You might find a painting to bring home. One that will make the world shine every day with that incomparable passion for life that Cuban art can bring even on the grayest of days.