There are lots of galleries sprinkled throughout the city, but at Fucina des Artistas (@fucinadesartistas) visitors get a chance to peruse finished works in a gallery style setting and meet and watch young Cuban artists in their studios.
The space is located in Vedado near the bustling intersection of 23 and 12, in a second floor (primer piso) converted apartment that houses both the gallery and two studios, with a changing lineup of artists in residence. When I visited, the two artists working out of the Fucina were Daniel Rodríguez Collazo (@dcollazo24687) and Andy Llanes Bulto (@andyllanesbulto).
Their work is quite distinct, and quite interesting. Rodríguez, who was there when I visited and who I chatted with for a while, creates large black and white architectural drawings using a mix of charcoal, pen and ink, and other mediums. Many of his renderings are of buildings in Havana, so they were of particular interest for me since I’m such a fan of the city’s architecture. Some of his work are more surreal, and in some pieces he creates interesting visual effects that make it look like building facades are bulging outward or disintegrating. Good stuff.
Llanes’ work is also amazing — large canvases, sometimes curved or circular, with high contrast realistic human forms on gold leaf backgrounds. Very dramatic, textured, luminous works, and definitely worth seeing up close.
The curator and director of the space, Aisel Arencibia, noted that they are happy to have people stop by — they are there all day Monday-Friday — but for larger groups and to be sure you get to meet the artists, it’s good to call or email ahead to set up an appointment.
The location of Fucina des Artistsas makes it a great place to stop if you’re visiting Colón Cemetery, ICAIC, or Centro Cultural Fresa y Chocolate. 23 and 12 has lots of local flavor and food options, as well as two movie theaters, Cine Charles Chaplin and Cine 23 y 12. It’s also not far from Parque John Lennon and Parque Wilfredo Lam, or if you’re willing to walk a bit further, Parque Almendares on the far side of the Rio Almendares.
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