Cuban Folk Art
I was very fortunate to visit the amazing city of Havana a couple of years ago. There isn't much folk art for sale in Havana. It isn't a stuff-oriented culture like ours! Most folk art is in neighborhood environments -- blocks of murals and sculpture created by the residents helping with a project envisioned by a neighborhood artist. But I searched Havana markets and found these pieces. I created a documentary about Cuba which explains the photos surrounding this page. You can view it free at https://vimeo.com/216354978.
Materials are scarce, like everything else. Paper is recycled and much is made of paper mache. (We visited a school where even the play kitchen in the small children's area was made of paper mache. Yes, even the stove and refrigerator! Cubans are very resourceful and creative people.)
The paper mache pieces are coated with a high gloss finish which made them difficult to photograph because of the reflections.
The female saint figures are Orishas. The African slaves, mostly from Yoruba, brought with them the religion of santeria. (This is quite different from the Voudoun of Haiti, where most slaves came from a different part of Africa.) Santeria is based on the veneration of spirits, or Orishas. As Santeria and Roman Catholicism were syncretized, the Orishas came to be depicted by the same images as some of the most popular Catholic saints. Yemaya was considered to be the earth mother and she is also depicted as Nuestra Senora de Regla. She always wears blue because of her connection with the sea. She was the protector of the slaves as they were brought across the ocean on slave ships. Oshun, the youngest of the orishas, is associated with motherhood and fertility. She is depicted as Nuesta Senora de la Caridad del Cobre or Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre (a town in Cuba), the patron saint of Cuba who protects sailors at sea, thus the boat with sailors at her feet. Santa Barbara is Chango, the orisha of thunder, storms, and fire. Santa Barbara was believed to protect people from thunder and storms at one time. Chango wears red and white
Click on each image for a larger view. Measurements are in inches.
Packing and shipping are included for the pieces on this page. Please call us at 713-748-8133 to place orders or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We can bill you through Pay Pal.
The orisha Chango, depicted as Santa Barbara, by M. Masso, Havana, Cuba. Paper mache.
8"W X 12.5"H X 1.75"D. $73.
The orisha Oshun, depicted as Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre, by M. Masso, Havana, Cuba. Paper mache.
9.5"W X 8.5" H X 4"D,
The orisha Yemaya, depicted as Nuestra Senora de la Regla, by M. Masso, Havana, Cuba. Paper
8"W X 8.5" H X 3.75"D
Plaque in relief depicting AfroCuban dancers, by
Ricardo Losada Reina of Havana. Paper mache.
9 1/2" Dia. X 1.25" Thick
Plaque in relief depicting AfroCuban drummers and dancers, by Ricardo Losada Reina of Havana. Paper mache.
15" W X 12"H X1"D