The other day, passing through Central Havana, I spied some strange and wonderful-looking sculptures sitting on three large tables, outside a house, in the middle of a side street. I say ´´sitting´´ because most of them looked like creatures; a mix of dog and mouse that reminded me, rather nostalgically, of Grommit. A peek through the house window revealed a dwelling/workshop packed solid – floor to ceiling – with various manifestations of the dog-mouse and, to my delighted surprise, the man who owns the house, the sculptures, and who opened the door was someone I´ve known for years. This is Proyecto Salsita, the brainchild of artist, Lázaro Medina; a vibrant community arts project for children.
His Salsitas (the dog-mouse creatures) represent the salsa, the ´´mix´´ of Cuba, and are made of papier mache and string, using Cuban newspapers. There are three workshops per week – Mon/ Wed/Fri; 5-9pm – where he and his very enthusiastic group of kids (Los Papeleros – The Papermakers) gather recycled materials and work together. They also liase with local schools, hospitals and children’s centres.
You can view and buy Medina´s own work here (the children´s work is not for sale) and there are many lovely pieces – many satirical – which run from 2 to around 200 cucs. This delightful dancing couple (30 cucs/20 gbp) and the sassy Salsito reading his daily paper (25 cucs) sit alongside larger sculptures/paintings and are all very worth a look. You can also commission something special which will be ready the next day or, without fail, by the end of your stay.
PROYECTO LAS SALISTAS is in Calle Soledad #159, between San Lázaro and Jovellar, Central Havana. Tel: 00537 8730844; fb: lazaro.salsita; email: firstname.lastname@example.org