Sunday, November 17
Our last day….bittersweet. The sky is blue and the colors of the buildings and the plants are vibrant. We have planned a farewell lunch for Roberto, Eduardo, Anyel and Os at our apartment. Magally has made a feast for us all. It’s a heartfelt gathering. We discuss art, and teaching and some of the politics of the studios here in Havana. Eduardo dominates the conversation (he has many opinions) and Roberto keeps time with his interpretation. It’s a wonderful coming together of all of us, and we all heap praise and thanks upon one another, and Magally for the welcome, the food, the friendship, the artistic exchange. There is a sadness to the whole thing because we are all unsure that we will see each other again. Before they say goodbye, Os gives me two of his prints on mop fabric, and I buy a silkscreen from Anyel and a photo collage from Eduardo. Such special mementos.
Monday, November 18
6:30 am and we are up and out. Watery eye goodbyes to our wonderful casa hosts. Eduardo and Yunayka pick us up in the Ministry of Culture car and we are chauffeured in an air-conditioned car to the airport through the smoggy, bustling streets. Cars, pedal cabs, busses, horse-drawn wagons, people on foot. Monday morning is a gridlock of humanity and we bump and weave our way out of the city, through the suburbs of factories and farms out to the airport. With our VIP pass and the loving care of Eduardo and Yunayka we move easily and quickly through the bureaucracy of exiting Cuba: check-in, baggage, airport tax, customs, security. We land in the VIP lounge, drinking cappuccinos like we are special until we board the jet back to the US.
This chapter ends here, but it is my sincere hope that the connections we made with the artists and schools in Cuba is just a beginning. It is my hope that we can create a residency at Zea Mays Printmaking specifically for Cuban printmakers, and that we can bring Anyel, Os, Aliosky, Eduardo, Roberto, and all the others here for an art making and continued cultural exchange. I also hope to return, perhaps with other artists from Zea Mays Printmaking. Art is a soulful way to connect to other human beings. We are so blessed to have had this opportunity.