Maybe you have heard about the magic realism of the islands. In these countries where every story becomes a legend, where mythological beings are present in every house and every game, it is not a surprise to find an enigmatic, unique art. In Cuba, artist have fought to have spaces where they can be themselves. Colorful expressions, forms that combine the city daily life with mystical illusions, all represented in walls and canvas everywhere. If you are an art lover follow us in this promenade through Cuba’s more recognized art galleries.
Read also: Fusterlandia: an open-air Cuban marvel
1. Fábrica de Arte (Arts Factory)
When we speak about arts in Cuba, the Arts Factory or Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC) is a mandatory visit. This creative venue offers the more representative examples of the island’s contemporary arts with a communitary and social focus. The place used to be an oil factory, but under the hands of imaginative artists it became a unique space were you will discover film screenings, theatre plays, dancers, photography and painting exhibitions. If you travel to Cuba with us you will have the opportunity of sharing drinks and art at the Vedado’s heart.
2. National Museum of Fine Arts
Founded in 1913 as National Museum of the Republic, this museum hosts one of the largest collections of sculptures and paintings of Latin America. It is divided in two buildings: the first one situated next to the Manzana de Gómez Hotel is dedicated to the history of universal arts. The other, close to the Museum of the Revolution, is devoted to the Cuban art, with impressive permanent collections and many temporary exhibitions you shouldn’t miss.
3. Fototeca de Cuba
During your first day at Havana with Espíritu Travel you will explore the iconic Plaza Vieja. After a delicious mojito, why not visiting there the interesting Fototeca de Cuba? This cultural institution is an archive, museum and gallery holding selected pieces of Cuba’s photographic heritage. And yes, there are also transitory exhibitions to discover national and international creators.
4. Oriente Gallery
There is so much to enjoy in Santiago de Cuba, and the Galería Oriente (Oriente Gallery) is definitely a mandatory stop. Located near to the Parque Céspedes, it treasures the most genuine pieces of Santiago’s art, in two recently restored halls. The Oriente Gallery is also surrounded by very symbolic buildings for the ancient city: Diego Velázquez’s House, the Casa Granda Hotel and the majestic Cathedral.
5. Villa Manuela Art Gallery
Those who prefer a mixture of arts (poetry, music, paintings) will find their space in Villa Manuela. This venue, near to the National Association of Writers and Artists (UNEAC), focuses in the promotion local artist with about 10 different exhibition each year. The amazing variety of styles and the proximity of literary and musical activities, made it the right place for an exceptional afternoon.
6. Martha Jimenez’s Studio Workshop
This hidden jewel in Hermanos Aguero Street, next to the Plaza del Carmen in Camaguey, worth totally the visit. Heart-moving sculptures and suggestive paintings attracts Cubans and foreigners towards Marta Jiménez’s Studio Workshop in some kind of sortilege.
Martha is currently one of the most renowned and laureated Cuban artist. She has more than 250 exhibitions all over the world, including the techniques of ceramic, painting and engraving. Among her awards are a UNESCO recognition to “Best Works Ensemble”, a prize in the II Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary teaport Art in Shanghai, China, and a recognition among the best sculptresses in the 5th International Symposium of Terracotta in Eskisehir, Turkey. Museums of Montreal and Paris exhibit her works, however she is always there, smiling among kids and project at her workshop.
7. Galería De Arte Universal Benito Ortiz
Trinidad is already a myth, with its stone cobbled streets and its amazingly conserved colonial mansions. However, travelers forgetting to visit the landmarks of the regions are missing the very essence of the city. Among those places where you could feel the Trinitarian spirit is the Universal Art Gallery Benito Ortiz. It used to be the house of Don Rafael Ortiz, ancient governor of the city, and it was built between 1800 and 1809.
Today, almost 40 year after the gallery foundation, we are still able to appreciate there the best exponents of local art every month. We particularly advice you to admire the third floor where there is always an exhibition of weaving and embroidery, Trinidad’s tradition.
8. Santiago Hermes’ Gallery
Known as the Pearl of the South, Cienfuegos charms equally nationals and visitors, however, if you are thrilling for a unique experience we recommend you Santiago Hermes’ Gallery.
Located at 62 Avenue, the little but powerful place burst with life and colors. Santiago Hermes is an independent artist graduated from the best college of arts in the country, which explores photography, ceramics, sculpture and theatre. Proud of its heritage, he founded in 2009 the communitary project Trazos Libres, an interactive space mixing visual arts, dance, Cuban culture topics and original music. Enjoy the rumba, show unique paintings in your skin, observe the magic of the fourth elements…
If you want to feel the rhythm, the love, the authenticity of our artists visit Santiago Hermes’ Gallery with Espíritu Travel.
9. Estudio Taller Figueroa-Vives
A conceptual gallery offers a venue for the most variable artistic styles. The Estudio Taller Figueroa-Vives aims to represent the complexity of the Cuban society through the work of its youngest creators. This gallery, located at 21st Street in the Vedado, Havana, was one of the first independent spaces for artists in Cuba. It started when the curator Cristina Vives and the photographer José A. Figueroa decided to transform their house in an open space to exhibit art.
Today, the Estudio Taller is an iconic place where you’ll be able to explore a different panoramic of Cuban contemporary art.
Are you ready to start planning your next artistic getaway to Cuba? Our annual Havana Imagined Photography Workshop is held every year in November. Photography lovers have the opportunity to walk and discover Havana and Viñales with the award winning photographer Jim O’Donnell. With this list of astonishing galleries and the company of enthusiastic photographers you will be immersed in a very special trip. If you are interested in participating in our workshop, contact us today.