Cuban artists create pieces with limited supplies

Maikel Lazcano says to see change you have to start fixing things yourself

HAVANA – Materials are hard to come by for artists in Cuba, so they are forced to turn to the oddest of places to find their supplies.

Artist Maikel Lazcano hangs some of his artwork on the walls of his home, which he creates upstairs.

He said the home/gallery setup is the typical setup for artists in Cuba.

He also refurbishes furniture to make a living, but he said he creates art to keep his soul alive.

"To create art is to give birth," he told Local 10 News in Spanish.

Lazcano said he feels like he's constantly giving birth.

One of his pieces, he said, is designed so you sit in front of it, spin it and the geometric shapes can make your head spin.

But the words in the artwork tell you differently. Sometimes one will find the shape with the word, "calm" on it and sometimes the word "soul" in Spanish.

The piece is called "Psychotherapy."

Lazcano said it's a metaphor for Cuban society going crazy, trying to fix their problems, but you have to calm your soul.

He said he has not seen drastic changes when it comes to Cuban art, other than that more people are learning about it.

But there is challenge: lack of materials.

"I can work with a piece of cardboard, really anything in order to produce," Lazcano said. "I use whatever I can, because I need to create every day."

Lazcano said Cubans "live off stealing," meaning Cubans are trying to figure out ways around the system in order to survive after earning a meager salary.

"If you want to change something, you have to start by fixing things yourself," he said.

That's something Lazcano is doing one piece of artwork at a time.

About the Author: