Havana Street Art – Callejon de Hamel and elsewhere

by thewokabout
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The vibrant outdoor Callejon de Hamel (Hamel Alley), is a 5 minute drive from Havana Vieja, in the Cayo Hueso Barrio (district). Its art, ranging from swirling abstract designs to poster-like quotes, display a rough technique but is pretty compelling. 

A small alley with mural-covered walls in blazing colors, and oddball sculptures made of bathtubs, sinks and salvaged items. Little shops here sell art, wooden carvings and statues.

It’s a chaotic hit or miss attraction that can be a messy turn-off for some but culturally fascinating for others, as it has elements of the Santería religion.

Vibrant walls at Callejon de Hamet artist’s street

The murals portray Cuba’s African roots ranging from swirling abstract designs to poster-like quotes, and those dedicated to Santería religion/witchcraft are dense with symbolism.

The sculptures are creative, if sightly crazed. And baffling until you realize that art made from found objects. You’ll see cactus plants posed in bathtubs inexplicably painted with images and quotes from the children’s book series The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Also painted sinks, an old-fashioned cash register and a bassinet, to name a few.

If you want to dive into a local tradition turned crowded-tourist magnet, come on Sundays, between 11 am and 3 pm. Santería priests lead dances invoking Santería spirits (Orishas) to music and rhumba drums. Onlookers can join in, but be cautious, it’s a hang out for jineteros, hustlers and pickpockets.

Or just wander around Havana Vieja, away from the main tourist drag and you’ll see pelnty of street art.

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