Where does graffiti become art? What constitutes a mural? When does a portrait become propaganda?

Mural de Mercaderes

Havana is a city of blurred boundaries, rather like those between the different districts of the city; so you might see more art in Vieja, more obvious graffiti in Habana Centro, and mostly propaganda in Vedado. Or was that just one man’s experience?

Lets look at it another way; this grand mural found in  Havana Vieja is clearly art, but then given that it features important figures from the history of the city, the question must be asked about how the selection was undertaken. Who missed out? Whose inclusion is questionable? What part did politics play in those choices?

The portraits on the pillars of a bar are outstanding, but what is the symbolism of a pirate and a man who appears to be a barman or shopkeeper?

The political messages that promote how great Cuba is in the eyes of its citizens and fellow communists around the world are surely just that? But then the crumbing walls that they adjoin subvert their message.

Its no easy feat to separate art from politics.



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