One normally thinks of a communist country as having very strict "discipline" regarding what is tolerated on the streets of the city. Frankly, I don't know anything about the activities of the authorities on this subject, but we saw an enormous amount of street art that did not seem to be under the control of anyone. Just like in many other countries, graffiti and street art seemed to find their place automatically on many unused walls and were completely tolerated. However, Callejón de Hamel is a small street that has been taken over by one specific artist -- Salvador Gonzalez. He is very involved in the santeria culture (a sort of mix of African religions and Carribean voodoo tradition), and this street has become an amazing place.
Yaaay ~ Callejón de Hamel! I am excited to see this as the two of us wandered off in different directions in this place. Thus, I am not only seeing Kerouac's pictures for the first time, I am also seeing aspects of the place I missed.
Even before officially entering the alley, you get glimpses of what is in store ~
"Limitless water" -- "Water by the drop"
It wasn't until I looked at my photo that I finally realized this was trompe-l'œil and not a real branch ~
Of course Cuba isn't North Korea, though we have seen photos of one of the Committees in Defence of the Revolution, which exercise social control as well as more benevolent tasks of street cleanliness and greening (we have an informal committee that works on greening our back lane and fighting illegal rubbish dumping and other antisocial acts).
Is this a street where people actually live (I don't see any houses or apartment buildings), or is it just dedicated to street art and sculpture?
In the Padura book I am reading now, Mascaras, there is mention of control and committees that know exactly what is going on, but I suppose they realize that people need an outlet. And it attracts tourists!
... when did the artist start creating these? ... I would have had difficulty knowing which way to point my camera it's almost overwhelming yet not quite chaotic. ... How large an area did this encompass? And, is it continuing?
As I said earlier in this thread, it's a real treat and revelation to see what caught the eye of someone who was where I was at the same time. There are different angles and some things I missed entirely. With that in mind, I'm looking forward to seeing what street art Kerouac captured in other parts of Havana.
I'm kicking off this portion with examples that aren't strictly "street art", but certainly art from fertile, non-formal imaginations, albeit in the service of commerce ~