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Living in Cuba

March 26, 2012 6 Comments by Regina

Narrow Streets of the Old Quarter.

When I worked for a Latin record label, I almost visited Cuba.  There where several Cuban artists on the roster and a team was sent for a photoshoot for the album artwork for an influential band called Los Van Van. I was thisclose to going but was ultimately not sent with the crew.  (The album, Llego Van Van, later won a well-deserved Grammy.)  Growing up in Miami, I was also exposed to both the beauty and politics of Cuba.  It’s a country that has always fascinated me.

I visited my Mother recently and found a gorgeous book she had bought called Living in Cuba written by Alexandra Black and photographed by Simon McBride.  I eagerly picked it up and she told me “Oh, you’re going to love the architecture!”.   She is a generous soul and graciously gave me the book.  (You can protest, but it will get you nowhere.)  So, I am sharing it with you.

Stairway in Old Havana

A blue panelled salon.

Ms. Black traveled from coast to coast to fully capture the flavor and magic of Cuba.  She writes on all aspects of Cuba — the livelihoods, the cities, the architecture, the design and the artistry.  Mr. McBride complimented her writings with gorgeous photographs. This is truly just a sampling.

A Moorish arch with Italianate fresco artistry. Here’s a closeup of the art. Lovely.

Do click on the images above to enlarge.  On the left is the 17th century Casa de la Obra Pia and on the right, a 19th century indoor courtyard.

Green is a popular color in Cuba because it is easy on the eye and helps reduce the glare of the sunlight.

Azulejos - Spanish ornamental tiles. Love the colors and design!

(above) Fresco artists came to Cuba in the 1500s with the Spanish conquistadors.  The Spanish had learned the craft from the Italians but most chose to use less figurative work and more dainty designs with the bold colors.

Exuberant colors in a colonial doorway.

Spying Art Nouveau details as ballerinas rehearse.

It is said that upon seeing Cuba, Christopher Columbus declared it the most beautiful land that was ever seen – and promptly claimed it for Spain.  It’s a beautiful mix of sandy shores, colors and an exotic atmosphere.  It also showcases various design styles including Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Baroque.  I do hope to visit one day.  You?

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5 Comments

  1. Richard Moss
    941 days ago

    Love these interiors, I live in Central Florida and these photos are exactly what I’m trying to achieve. Incidentally, I make tile and mosaic for a living. I paint lots of azulejo-style tile, right here in USA, http://www.eofc.com/gallery/gal-pic7.html so I really love to see the gorgeous panel you have here.

  2. Regina
    940 days ago

    Your work is gorgeous, Richard! I had no idea the artistry was available right in my area — thank you!

  3. mbwife
    939 days ago

    So pretty! So evocative, too. Kind of dreamy, kind of from another time and place. The green in particular just looks so good to me right now — oh right, it’s spring.

  4. Ann @ Plumsiena
    939 days ago

    Is Cuba open now for visits? After visiting San Juan a few times, I’m ready for the amazing Havana.

    Wanna go?

  5. Regina
    938 days ago

    Norine, I totally agree. That particular green is very pleasing, too – refreshing. Enjoy your upcoming trip, btw! Can’t wait to read about it. Ann, I did find this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/17/cuba-travel-first-america_n_929039.html#176583 So…maybe in a group? I’d love to go! Do see the slideshow, btw. :)

One Trackback

  1. [...] Let’s say you have an image on your hard drive and you’d like to know the source or you don’t want to install the bookmark.  For this, you can go directly to Google Images itself.  Here, I’ve used an image I had for the post on the book, Living in Cuba. [...]

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