In a country that shuns billboard advertising beyond the occasional political message, the impact of its street art becomes all that more striking. One interesting exercise is to grab your camera, hire a cab for a few hours, and to drive through the neighbourhoods of Centro and Vedado with an attentive eye on the sidewalks and streets. Soon you will be finding yourself asking the cabbie to stop every block or so that you can pop out and snap a shot of the art that suddenly seems to be everywhere.
In some cases, these works might be the fruits of coordinated state-sponsored art projects (the promotion of the arts is a very important endeavor of the government) while in others, they are the works of renegade artists leaving their own artistic mark here and there.
Sometimes they may appear as if they are an elevated form of graffiti (there actually is surprisingly little graffiti throughout Cuba) and at other times they clearly represent some considerable time and effort on the creator’s part.
A.J. Twist is a Montreal based travel writer and photographer who normally rails against street graffiti.