CubaPLUS Magazine

Fusterland: a land of art and community

By: Alina Veranes Photos: Alvaro Pardo
Mar 30, 2023
Fusterland: a land of art and community

Contrary to the mythical Neverland, Fusterland, in the capital's fishing neighborhood of Jaimanitas, west of Havana, recreates the possible tangible relationship between art and everyday life, in a non-central place inhabited by simple workers and happy people,  communicative, willing to expand in colors and beauty.

fuster-land-1.jpgIt all started when one fine day the painter artist José Antonio Rodríguez Fuster, known by his second last name, decided to live and set up his creative workshop there, to start a creation project, quickly spread throughout the area. A place where popular art flourished and with such defined characteristics that it began to be called Fusterland.

Fuster, born on August 6, 1945 in Caibarién, in the central province of Villa Clara, soon felt like a fish in the water since his arrival to Jaimanitas some 27 years ago. Painter, ceramicist, draughtsman, engraver and graphic designer, admirer of the work of Gaudí, in Barcelona, and of Brancusi, in Romania, he felt motivated to undertake his own creativity, based on that line.

He then started doing something with his own home, but he did not even think that the influence of his art would be so noticeable in the environment. The colorful mosaics used in the exterior decoration of his home caught the attention of his neighbors, whom he invited to join the project.

That was the hatching of the art world that it is today Fusterland expanded with desire and enthusiasm in a part of Jaimanitas. An enclave that is already a benchmark today and shows that links can be so strong between art and the common citizen, those who seem to be oblivious to the subject. Today, unannounced visitors to the neighborhood witness the explosion of colors that adorn bus stops, doors and different facades.

fuster-land-2.jpgThe themes that these living images or “pictures” reflect include religion themes, and actions paying homage to the Revolution, natural landscapes and even do not shy away from the symbolic language that so-called modern art will always have, even if it is a few years old.

Despite the expansion to various points, the artist's workshop continues to have great importance as a center for art irradiation that it continues to be. Admission is free and Fuster is a regular presence there, in his midst, where he also lives, like his art, in close synergy with the environment.

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