2011 havana projects

the start of something Big!!

Here I am once again to share with you the highlights of my week of volunteering in the Muraleando community art project. According to my Cuban friends my Spanish is slowly but surely improving which I hope confirms to them that I am serious and committed to continuing my work with the project. This year was the 10th anniversary of the overall project and it was very exciting since they were given access to a 100 year old concrete water tank buried in a hill in the neighbourhood. Why is that such a big deal you may ask? Well, this would be the start of a dream being fulfilled, for a community arts centre where workshops can be held, supplies stored, meetings conducted and festivities to take place for all in the community.

 El tanque in progress 10 weeks

El tanque in progress 10 weeks

 The cement truck arrives

The cement truck arrives

The project was given access to “el tanque” in February and by the time I had arrived it was ready for me to conduct the first workshop in!! The artists had to shift their creative volunteer hours to heavy duty construction work, but they did so and will continue to do so until the vision for “el tanque” is complete. As always, workshops were conducted; this year I gave 4 workshops – one collage workshop for the younger children which resulted in an accordion style book, 2 workshops for older children which introduced them to relief printmaking on linoleum and provided each of them in the end, with a portfolio of prints from fellow students, and finally an interesting handmade book workshop for the neighbourhood artists involving india ink and introduced them to some basic bookbinding skills. The artists however, were very envious of what the older children were doing in the printmaking workshop and asked me to consider a workshop like that for them next year!!

 Collage accordian book from childrens workshop

Collage accordian book from childrens workshop

It was very exciting to see this new decade of the project emerging from the earth as it was, with “el tanque”. You could feel the excitement about the possibilities this might bring for the community, and even though the physical and financial labours to achieve that seem unimaginable at times, it is quite remarkable how their Cuban strength and determination seems to get them through the impossible. I am truly in awe of what these people are able to accomplish with virtually nothing.