Throughout Cuba you can find art everywhere.
Everywhere you go there are local galleries and shops displaying Cuban culture.
It is a struggle for any artist in Cuba to rise economically above the primal financial state unless you are in Habana, Santiago, or places like Trinidad which has shops everything. Trinidad is a very magical cobblestone town with a modest size population. It has the beaches and is a main stop for many tourist travelling from the northern city of Habana to Santiago in the south. The bus trip is too long for most tourist to bear in one shot. Trinidad is about half way and is a constant target for bus tours. All this means music and culture thrive because of the tourist dollars.
Cuban art is unique because it is not tainted by worldly influences outside of Cuba. This political paradox reveals itself in many ways socially but in terms of art is often simply results in an far reaching tradition in style and content that often involves people, cigars, Orisha references, pastorial country scenes and social activities.
The political climate of Fidel Castro's 'revolution', while inspiring roots partriotism, has muzzled artistic freedom to the degree that wall murials and public art remains in step with the idealogy of a goverment that does not allow internet, public disemmination of newspapers, more than four channels of carefully manipulated nationaly television indepedent and constantly polices all public actively to conform with the governments idea of 'art' and 'free' expression. Given all this, the art and poetic nature of Cuban's 22 million people still finds a way to genuinely express itself.
Many artists in Cuban feel the financial repercussions of a social and political system that stiffles all revenue. Many rely of tourism to boost their bottom line. In Habana and Trinidad the commercial art scene is very robust however a lot of the art in some venues is reminicient of mass duplication as in many parts of the world. As with all places, Cuban art has its commercial cliches for tourists but for the better part art permeates every aspect of social life and is intregal in education.
Sports, politics and art merging together in the deepest part of the human psyche is universal and this picture reflects a lot of common sentiment and thinking in Cuba. Nationalism in Art is everywhere unlike religion which operates on many levels of social subtlety and is largely left in private quaters. The most dominant religious presence in Cuba is the African based Orisha tradition.
Art and politics.
There is no shortage for of political murels on walls and buildings everywhere. All Cuba's great 'martyrs' have great social prominence which constantly re-inforces the fundamental principles of a social and political system that was founded on the tyranny of foreignors for centuries. In this regard, the people of Cuba once shared this view point strongly enough to forgive the Castro government many of its shortages. Over time however, like so many of the buidlings in Cuba, the system is in bad need of repair.
This is a very typical site throughout Cuba. Che Guevera's image is a constant in all Cuban life.