Fusterlandia: Cuban Mosaic Art Installation | We Are Nomads

The ever expanding Cuban art project.

If Fusterlandia is anything to go by the inside of José Fuster’s head must be a fun place to be. The Cuban artist decided to turn his rundown neighbourhood into a living art project. He moved to Jaimanitas near Havana in 1975 and set about creating not only a studio but a piece of art. Once done he then turned to his neighbours and the local area to start decorating with his signature mosaic style.

He has created organic cartoon-like shapes and decorated them with the mosaics too. The result is similar to that of Gaudi at his loudest, with the fun and colour of Cuba, and Cuba is full of fun and colour. José uses floor and wall tiles to create the patterns. The whole complex is covered, I mean everything. It has been over 40 years in the making and continues to grow. The area is now a permanent tourist attraction with coach loads of tourists arriving each day. It is a real boost to the area and a growing crop of artists are now gaining more exposure due to Fusterlandia.

Giving back

The money José makes from the art installation is put back into continuing to extend the project to his neighbours' houses. The more art there is in the neighbourhood, the more visitors will flock to the area. As Cuba is a communist country this idea of sharing fits in with that philosophy. Having travelled around Cuba briefly it is also evident that there is a lack of opportunity for people, so José's commitment to the local area is giving locals the chance to grow.

José Fuster

José still lives and works on location. He was around when I visited but I missed him as he left. His work has been on display all over the world. As well as Fusterlandia he continues to work on his paintings which are on display in a studio.

DISCOVER MORE

There are references to Cuban culture all over the area from flags to palm trees. The mural below is a tribute to Mexican culture with a mural of the Granma yacht below. The Granma was launched from Mexico.

In 1956 Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos, and Raul Castro launched the vessel to begin the revolution in Cuba. The above tribute is one of many existing in Cuba. The yacht is on display at the Museum of the Revolution in Havana.

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