My Introduction to Cuban Art
One of my first jobs after graduating from the University of Miami was a teller at a savings and loan institution. Had a degree but couldn't find a job right away and accepted this job because some income is better than no income. Each teller had a number. You used your stamp – on checks, deposit and withdrawal slips, etc. - to leave a trail for the auditors that you had handled that customer's transaction. Teller 63. That was me!
One of my co-workers, another teller, was a young guy working his way through college. He had come to America from Cuba with the first set of refugees that President John Kennedy had allowed into Miami , Florida .
Can't remember the name, but he was showing me artwork by a Cuban artist who was very famous and known for his paintings of everyday life in Cuba. Everyday life, that is, before FidelCastro took over. So the painting was a wonderful lively scene – beautiful blue water and clear blue sky, trees, beautiful flowers, all kinds of colorful people – men , women and children, engaging in either work or play.
“ Look! ", he says and points at a beautiful woman walking down the sidewalk and men turning to stare as she strolls with her nose up in the air.
“ You see her backside?" , he asked.
I reply, “Yes! Yes I do!”
(You could hardly miss her lovely “lady lump”. :)
He continues to explain the art: “This painting is so typical Cuban. Cuban men love the big butt! Americans do not like this! But in our culture, it is considered beautiful!! Americans think skinny is beautiful. But Cuban men do not like skinny women!”
The conversation between Jorge and me was very memorable, educational and also humorous. His final remarks really made me laugh, as he's looking right at me, and speaking very plainly and seemed to take no thought that he was talking to me – a Black American woman - about big butts!!!
That was my first lesson about Cuban artists and Cuban art.
(Truly apologize. My memory fails me. Forgot the name of the particular artist.)
Link of interest:
Image Credit » http://www.clker.com/clipart-fidel-castro.html