Callejon de Hamel: AfroCuban art project

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Callejon de Hamel [Hamel’s little street] is a pedestrian street in the Cayo Hueso section of Centro Habana neighborhood. This street serves as a living art project and a homage to the area and the island’s African roots. The visual art in the street and on the surrounding building walls is just as impressive as the Rumba performances that take center stage every Sunday from 12-3pm.

Unfortunately, like many other beautiful places in Cuba, Callejon de Hamel is filled with people searching for tourist dollars, fortunately most of them.And although tourists and foreigners walking through will most likely be aggressively pushed to buy a CD by people working for the project or one that performs Rumba there, most of those involved in the art project are willing to just chat or at least give you a spiel about Afro-Cuban artistic expression, as long as you promise to come see the Rumba festival on Sunday afternoon.

But if you do decide to make some kind of purchase, your conscience can be soothed by the fact that the project is self-financed, and most of the money received for art, musical and food purchases go to the upkeep and expansion of Salvador’s project (at least this is what I told myself after I got a $10 bill for two average drinks at their bar).

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- Grandmother - Where does egotism live? - In the house of Solitude - And where does kindness live? - Inside one’s self. -Grandmother, what is liberty? - Happiness - And happiness? - Peace - Grandmother, what is the sea? - A blue eye by the day. By the night, a black eye that lovingly watches the beaches of the universe.
Grandmother
– Where does egotism live?
– In the house of Solitude
– And where does kindness live?
– Inside one’s self.
-Grandmother, what is liberty?
– Happiness
– And happiness?
– Peace
– Grandmother, what is the sea?
– A blue eye by the day. By the night, a black eye that lovingly watches the beaches of the universe.
- Grandmother what is enjoy? - Slow and terrible death for those who have no life. - Why does hate exist Grandmother? - Because of that poor word. - Nobody said to her “You are beautiful” - Grandmother, how hard would it be to go one thousand and one nights without sleeping? - I think more difficult would be to go one thousand and one without living. - Grandmother, what is the river? - The tears of a giant for a lost love.
– Grandmother what is envy?
– Slow and terrible death for those who have no life.
– Why does hate exist Grandmother?
– Because of that poor word. – Nobody said to her “You are beautiful”
– Grandmother, how hard would it be to go one thousand and one nights without sleeping?
– I think more difficult would be to go one thousand and one without living.
– Grandmother, what is the river?
– The tears of a giant for a lost love.

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White Water; Black Water
White Water; Black Water
Ship of forget(fullness)
Ship of forget(fullness)
Water without limits; Leaked Water
Water without limits; Leaked Water
The son of Hamel enters and leaves the street and nobody sees him.
The son of Hamel enters and leaves the street and nobody sees him.

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[Coming soon: Pictures of the performances]

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