Cuban Art: Shopping in Havana for a GVSU Gallery

  • Cuban art 1
    We're looking for Art for the GVSU Gallery
  • Cuban art 2
    There were a variety of pieces on display
  • Cuban art 3
    Many different styles from a variety of artists
  • Cuban art 4
    Some were very colorful, with traditional mediums
  • Cuban art 5
    Some were made out of different types of materials
  • Cuban art 6
    Che was a very popular figure in the Cuban art scene
  • Cuban art 7
    The people were used to tourists wanting art, but they likely weren't familiar with people browsing to come back later
  • Cuban art 8
    This was a particularly nice piece. My photo doesn't really do it justice.

While we were in Havana, we wanted to shop for some authentic Cuban art work to possibly be featured in an art gallery at Grand Valley State. We’d had quite a bit of experience walking around the city and conversing with the Cuban people so far, but attempting to talk art with them was going to be a whole different thing all together. it was just Gordy and myself browsing the place, and if the artists didn’t speak any English, it was going to be near-impossible to get any productive conversation out of them. Still, we tried. The images above show you a few examples of what we looked through.

Artists in Havana are very friendly, and unlike those who will attempt to sell tourists some cheap souvenirs they have to offer, art dealers seemed to let us wander around and check out their stock for a bit before approaching us. Personally, I think this has a bit to do with the extra patience an artist has for their work. That bit of time commitment seems to be rubbing off on them, and I like that they allow us the time to appreciate their craft before speaking with us about it.

We ended up finding some fantastic pieces, and met some very nice people along the way. Many of the dealers were there selling for their friend, or a brother or husband. Gordy was only looking to grab contact information from these amazing artists, so that the art could be purchased on a return trip at a later date. Many of the people had a difficult time understanding that bit, and almost none of them had any sort of business card to hand out to us. They likely aren’t used to tourists coming in for information like that. They’re used to people just buying it or walking away.

Charlie Pryor

Charlie is a media producer, writer, and a traveler. He grew up in Michigan, all of his life and attended Grand Valley State University for a B.S. in Film and Video Production. He's married to a wonderful woman named Hang, and simply hopes to one day turn himself into a man that many will remember long after he's gone.

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