El Mac, one of the cover artists of our Public Art examination in May 2012, just sent us over some images of his recent mural in Havana, Cuba for the 11th Havana Biennial (in conjunction with Primary Flight out of Miami, the Cisneros-Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), and the UNEAC, (National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba).
What El Mac wrote on his blog is very, very interesting, and here is an excerpt:
CIFO is a highly respected and influential institution, whose main participation in the Biennial was a huge exhibition of works from the Cisneros-Fontanals collection at the National Museum of Fine Arts, and this mural was their only other project for the Biennial. UNEAC, on the other hand, is essentially a cultural branch of the Cuban government, and for them to support a U.S. artist in painting a mural in Cuba is groundbreaking. There aren’t many non-political murals at all in Cuba, and there’s not that much graffiti either. Being a US citizen, and considering the ongoing history of strained relations between the two countries, and the fact that nobody had any idea what I would paint, and considering this was a highly visible wall facing Havana’s “Avenue of the Presidents”, I felt a lot of pressure. I almost always feel a sense of obligation when painting public murals to do something that can inspire people, maybe something that can uplift in some small way, but I felt that more than ever with this project. I ended up painting a figure based on photos I took of a local lady named Adis Naranjo, who works in the kitchen at the UNEAC offices. I wanted to paint someone that could personify the average Cuban, and Adis seemed perfect for this with her mix of African, Native and European ancestry. She is represented as powerful and hopeful, and the colors around her hands can suggest energy or creativity. The title of the mural is “El Corazón de un Sueño Palpita Entre Mis Manos”, which is from a poem by the great Cuban poet Jose Ángel Buesa.