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Friday, January 13, 2012

Cuba

January 5, 2012

Day two starts out with Cuban architect and professor, Maria Elena Martin, as our guide for an "architecture and historical site" tour.

The National Theater or Great Theater of Havana where the Cuban National Ballet & opera perform. Neo-Baroque facade of the building designed by Belgian architect Paul Belau, and decorated by other international sculptors, which can be seen in its four sides covering a whole block. 

The National Capitol, now the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment
Nationa Hotel--bullet holes from the revolution
Cafe in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana
Tour guide, Maria Elena Martin, on left; Jane LaFazio, "journaling" (center); Sharon on right 
Beautiful terrazzo work at entrance way of many of the old buildings
Artist's initials
Jose Marti Statue/Memorial
Part of the National Theater newly restored and not yet open.
Photo taken in the Cuban National Museum (before finding out photos were not allowed) A glimpse of the beautiful stained glass domed skylight...
Enjoying a cappuccino...

View from the rooftop of our hotel...














A very special visit to a Cuban Flamenco dance school. 

Lunch at Dona Eutimia, delicious Cuban food prepared in a paladar--a privately owned restaurant in a home setting.


Visual Arts--"Since the revolution, there has been an aggressive program of cultural reforms that has tried to enhance and promote artistic expression in Cuba.  The creation of various artistic institutes and councils, and the establishment of the National Art Schools in Cubanacan, outside Havana, have all served to promote and train new artists.  Graphic arts, often in the form of propaganda posters and billboards, have also flourished under the current government.  Painting is a field in which Cuban artists have managed to retain a fair degree of freedom of expression, in spite of the difficulties involved.  The contemporary generation of Cuban artists has developed diverse and rich styles.  Many with strong anti-establishment undertones."  (Cuban Cultural Travel Tours Itinerary) 

We visited the Wilfredo Lam Center of Contemporary Art, a cultural institution dedicated to the study, research and promotion of contemporary and visual art. 

Our next visit was the Taller de Grafica Experimental, a studio, school, and an art institution that preserves and develops the sophisticated art of print-making.  We were able to watch students in the process of making lino-cuts, etchings on metal and plexi-glass, calligraphs, and mono prints.  The school had several very old German printing presses.  Student artwork was on display and available for purchase in the gallery.

After the graphic arts school, we walked to the Museum of the City located in one of the most important historical buildings of Colonial Cuba.  This building was the House of Government and the Municipal Palace during Spanish domination.  Roccoco or "Late Baroque" style throughout.

Dinner at Atelier.

After dinner we enjoyed the dance performance of "Besame Mucho" in the iconic Copa Room, located in the historical Riviera Hotel; another example of going back in time (untouched 1950s decor).

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