Friday, April 3, 2009

Artist hails Cuba by turning village into artwork

JAIMANITAS, Cuba (Reuters) – From his second-story studio, Cuban artist Jose Fuster looks out over what he has wrought in the seaside village of Jaimanitas and, with a big smile, says, "I am completely crazy."

Below, wildly colorful mosaics and large, fanciful sculptures cover his home and fill his yard in an explosion of art that has transformed the humble neighborhood into a island of brightness among Havana's well-worn suburbs.

His home and studio are the epicenter of a work in progress in which Fuster, 62, has adorned houses on two streets with Picasso-like paintings and playful ceramic figures of the palm trees, roosters and crocodiles that reappear in all his art.

In front of his house, he has created a sort of tiled park that is a large communal chess board; behind that, a massive 25-foot (eight-meter) tall tribute to five Cuban agents jailed for spying in the United States, lauded in Cuba as the "Five Heroes."

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