NE Explorers Share Their Cuban Art
Rum. Cigars. Classic American cars. Beautiful white sandy beaches… These are just a few things that might come to mind when you think of the small country of Cuba. In March 2014, Natural Exposures and a group of Explorers visited this exotic island, and the NE Explorers were quickly immersed in the rich culture of the hospitable Cuban people.
A Brief History
In 1959, Fidel Castro and his group of revolutionaries seized power in the bustling city of Havana. Shortly thereafter, US and Cuba relations became strained, and ultimately the US responded with a full economic embargo including strict travel restrictions between the countries.
In the early 1990’s, adjustments were made to the trade embargo to allow for certain items like medical supplies to be exported to Cuba. In 2009, some of the restrictions on travel to Cuba were reversed, allowing certain individuals or groups to travel to Cuba with a government-approved travel affidavit.
Even more recently, in April 2014, President Barack Obama met with Fidel’s brother and now Cuban leader, Raul Castro, in hopes of completely restoring diplomatic ties, the first meeting between US and Cuban leaders in more than 50 years! Though several advancements have been made due to this meeting, especially in the area of travel to Cuba, some US economic sanctions are still in place.
A complex history along with current controversial issues both play key roles in the development of positive dealings between the US and Cuba. Thankfully, it seems that relations are on the path to improvement with the lines of communications now open, though it may still be awhile before diplomatic ties are fully reinstated.
Along with beaches, rum, cigars, and the pristine American classic cars that still adorn the streets of Cuba, art in all its various forms can be found widespread throughout the Caribbean island. Theatre, film, music, paintings, posters, photography, and literature have been created for decades by Cuban artists influenced by North and South American, African, and European cultures. With the revisions in US and Cuba relations being implemented by President Obama and Raul Castro, esteemed publications including The New York Times and Conde Nast Traveler have published articles predicting the rise of Cuban art, from local producers to the hidden gems many have hidden away in their homes.
In light of these recent events and due to a special request by an Explorer, we’d like to share some of the Cuban art purchased by Explorers during the NE trip to Cuba. And yes, it was brought back to the US legally, in case you’re wondering. Even with restrictions still in place last March during the time of the NE trip, US citizens traveling legally to Cuba were allowed to bring back “informational material” such as books, paintings, sculptures, CDs, posters, photographs, records, etc. Please enjoy the beautiful paintings below. Who knows? If there is a Cuban art boom, perhaps one of these will be the next highly valued Picasso! Don’t we wish?!?