Monday, February 20, 2012

Pink Censorship Cuban-style

Pink Censorship Cuban-style
February 19, 2012
by Isbel Diaz Torres

Pink is the color of paint being used these days to paint over graffiti
in the heart of Havana.

HAVANA TIMES, Feb 19 — Given that we live in country marked by so much
machismo, I would have expected the island's censors to have found a
color different than pink to cover up the graffiti that's appearing
around the Cuban capital these days.

The task of detecting and painting over all of those artistic and
philosophical expressions that daring youth have attempted to capture on
the walls of Havana has started to give the city this a colorful atmosphere.

The obsolete and overly direct expressions that were written on walls
during the "Special Period" crisis have now given way to well-honed
metaphors and penetrating symbolism, many evidencing a tremendous sense
of humor and critical awareness.

Graffiti in Havana.

In this new phase, people have returned to re-coloring those
pink-painted surfaces, though now with roguish winks and smiles,
mischievous eyes and other graceful figurines that have recently begun
to adorn Linea Avenue in Vedado, for example.

"You cover up out my things and I'll cover up yours," reposted the
tagger "El Sexto" in a clear and direct manner.

The works exhibit wide diversity: from the mysterious signature of the
most famous graffitist in the city, which appears in the most
unimaginable places, to a crying blue-colored Marx who begs for us to
unite; or a television set whose radiating waves are attempting to cloud
our judgement.

The sides of buses, a public telephone booth, bathrooms in cafes, sides
of houses – any space is used to display a nostalgic work or a piece of

In telling the truth I don't offend or lie.

It's a shame I don't have a photo of the image that young graffiti
artists from the outlying Santa Fe community painted in the middle of
their Fifth Avenue. It was their way of expressing their plea for
"SOStainable Development."

At least here I can show the whitewashing labor they were ordered to
perform by the police (it seems that pink paint hasn't reached as far as
Santa Fe yet).

I think that an anarchistic sensibility lies behind these public
statements. Let's hope this allows our pink city to be painted with
colors other than the simple black and white ones that some seek to impose.

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