The art of freedom, passion and revolution
Nataly Osmann

Havana is one of the most creative cities that I’ve visited. Art in here is everywhere: in small cafes with numerous paintings on the walls, and alleyways covered in graffiti. Art is sporadic. You can walk along the street and feel like you’re in a museum. I’ll tell you about my favorite Cuban painters and where to hunt for art objects in Havana.

The Prado Boulevard in the center of Havana is where all the painters of the city usually gather. The street turns into an art gallery, as the sidewalk is occupied by stands and easels. Here you can become the owner of a colorful abstract painting (signed personally by the artist) or a cozy set of retro pictures from all around Cuba. There’s also an incredibly colorful atmosphere here: artists lazily smoke their cigars and exchange phrases, while tourists banter and praise every new work.

Murad and I couldn’t just walk by and bought a few unusual paintings, which already reside in our apartment in Moscow and remind us of sunny and positive Cuba (while everything is grey outside).

Casa Victor Hugo Gallery - an amazing place in the center of Old Havana, which will most likely remain unnoticed by a not-very-well-informed traveler. Go into the courtyard and you’ll see that all the walls are covered in paintings and posters. Any artwork can be bought here and for a pretty low price. You’ll be greeted by the owner of the gallery - a kind-hearted Cuban, who will certainly tell you ten or so unusual stories about all the local painters and their behind-the-scene drama, serving that all with a pinch of Cuban humor.

Kadir Lopez - one of the most famous Cuban contemporary artists. His works are in the Pop Art style, for example, “Havana Monopoly” or Molotov cocktails in Coca-Cola bottles are sold on the most prestigious auctions and showcased in the best galleries in the world. However, despite his popularity, Kadir still lives and creates on Cuba. The history and atmosphere of motherland help him look at the surrounding world and art in a new way. I really respect that position.

Juan Roberto Diago is a really tender and deep artist. He works in a mixed style, something between suprematism, cubism and naive art. One of the brightest representatives of the Cuban art world, Juan, just like Kadir Lopez, lives and works in Havana. By the way, try to write a letter to the painter and ask him to hold a tour of his workshop. They say he enjoys having guests.

Bonus information:

My advice to all the art object hunters would be to order the book “Cutting Edge Art in Havana: 100 Cuban Artists” on Amazon. It’s a catalogue and a guide of Havana all in one. Here all the best artists, galleries and museums of the city are collected. There are even addresses of painters’ studios, which you can visit by making an appointment first.

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