Music Port Festival

Music Port is Whitby’s annual world music festival! Encompass Tours will be promoting its famous “Cuban Snapshot” and “Mi Cubita” tours and asking the question “What do you want from a Cuban Holiday?” All input from you the general public will be considered in planning our new tours and increasing our ability to satisfy your holiday dreams!

musicport2013

Join us from October 18th to 20th at the Whitby Pavilion for a “Journey through World Music” a holiday requiring No Visa or Passport!

Bring your dancing shoes and a thermos of tea for a beach party in the comfort of the Whitby Pavilion! For more information please download the flyer and poster from the links below.

Hope to see you there!

http://www.musicportfestival.com/images/flyercomplete.jpg

http://www.musicportfestival.com/images/a2poster2_copy_Large.jpg

 

Lolo: Artists Flourish in Cuba

Food and other commodities can be hard to come by in Cuba but Art is abundant and gives us all hope!

MatanzasCubaOsmanyBatencourtArt3-001

We recently visited a well know artist’s studio in Matanzas. Cuba’s sculptor “Lolo” or Osmany Betancourt Falcón is one of Cuba’s flourishing artists.He is a local to Matanzas and his studio can be found on Calle 97 known as Narvaez facing onto the San Juan river.

MatanzasRioSanJuanCuba

He was busy at work when we arrived, up a step ladder on a huge piece supported by various pieces of wooden scaffolding and ropes. In the back ground a radio played some lively tunes and one of his colleagues with whom he shares his studio was working on some glazes. We wandered around admiring various pieces and looking at his array of tools and machinery for moving large works.

MatanzasCubaOsmanyBatencourtArt10

We chatted to Lolo when he took a short break to wash the rich red clay off his hands, and we asked him about his studio and his wonderful creations! Materials can be hard to come by in Cuba and so artists tend to work with what is easily available locally. Lolo likes to works in clay, and it is sourced from Pinar del Rio the neighbouring province. Then he likes to casts his pieces in Bronze and wood is another favourite material he incorporates.

MatanzasCubaOsmanyBatencourtArt10-001

For the piece he’s working on now, he plans to send it to the US to be cast in bronze.

Asking Lolo where we could see his works, he told us there was one in the Ceramic Museum in Havana. This is a small museum is on Calle los Mercaderes just off Plaza Vieja, entry is free and it’s well worth a visit!

MatanzasCubaOsmanyBatencourtArt11

Lolo has had some recent fame winning first  prize in Matanzas, in the 11th Summer Exhibition 2011 with a piece entitled “Sargento” an installation in enamelled ceramic, metal and wood.

He has won other prizes in the Bianual Amelia Peláez Ceramic Competition and in the Roberto Diago Salón. He has also had pieces of work on show in Canada, Holland and Germany.

MatanzasCubaOsmanyBatencourtArt1

The government actively supports “the Arts” and over the last 53 years of revolution, Cubans artist have enjoyed support and opportunities that others have been denied. Art of all types and forms is everywhere and accessible, mainly free of charge or very cheap for Cubans. Tourists pay a lot more. Artists have an almost free expression in music, dance, sculpture, and painting, the resulting works interpreted by the viewer.

MatanzasCubaOsmanyBatencourtArt8

Art schools are over subscribed and its a career  that the younger generation are drawn to. The arts attract tourists and sales to tourists bring extra cash bonuses.  If you are talented and produce popular works you might get a chance to travel with a show or get a contract to perform abroad. The young have a thirst to see the world beyond Cubas shores!

Why not book a holiday in Cuba this year?

The Castro days are numbered and change will steamroll this fragile and unique island.

Cuban Snapshot 7 days  http://encompasstours.com/tours/a-cuban-snapshot-7-days/

Mi Cubita 14 days     http://encompasstours.com/tours/mi-cubita-cuba14-days/

 

 

 

Public Art Gift!

La Conversacion! The conversation

ArtePlazaSanFrancisco2

A new work of art has proved its own success by exciting much talk among Cubans and tourists alike in Plaza San Francisco de Asisi; one of the most frequently visited plazas in Havana old city.

“The Arts” have always been supported by the Castro regime in Cuba, and many plazas have noteworthy sculptures on display funded or commissioned by the Cuban government!
Plaza San Francisco can boast more than its fair share!
The newest addition to this spacious plaza, was inaugurated on 25th May 2012. It was donated to the city of Havana by one Vittorio Perrota as a gesture of friendship between France and Cuba. The Conversation “La Conversacion” is the work of French sculptor Etienne who was present at the unveiling ceremony along with Vittorio Perrota, the French ambassador and the historiador de la cuidad de la Havana.

ArtePlazaSanFrancisco3

The sculpture itself is a beautiful bronze casting of a conversation between two people in an attitude of serious exchange of ideas! It is mounted on a lovely plinth of Cuba’s finest marble and hidden within this plinth is a box containing French and Cuban coins plus a message for future generations!

DSC01137

The importance of verbal, face to face conversation in this age of text messaging and social networking needs to be emphasised. That conversation is an important part of Cuban life can be seen as its a theme that runs through many artworks in Cuba where all have been unable to voice their beliefs and ideas freely since liberation in 1959. The figures have parts missing from their bodies allowing a clear view through to the plaza beyond. The spaces are in many ways the most interesting aspect of this intriguing sculpture, like the things unsaid in a conversation that help us to read between the lines and understand what people really mean to say.

Follow this links to read and see some of the other artefacts adorning the plaza San Francisco in Havana.
http://encompasstours.com/2012/04/legendary-characters-of-old-havana/

And for more conversation themed sculpture in Camaguey
http://encompasstours.com/2012/08/meet-the-artist/

Why not join us and see it all for yourself? If you only have a week then we recommend “A Cuban Snapshot”
http://encompasstours.com/tours/a-cuban-snapshot-7-days/

If you have more time to explore then “Mi Cubita” would be our choice for you!
http://encompasstours.com/tours/mi-cubita-cuba14-days/

 

 

Meet the artist!

Street Art of Camguey, Cuba!

Camaguey will enchant and seduce you! It is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the seven founding cities of colonial Cuba. It is also home to some great artists. Works of art are everywhere! Camaguey oozes art! Paintings and reliefs are worked into the walls, and art is embraced by young and old in the many parks and street corner installations.

One artist you will not fail to encounter is Martha Jimenez Perez (b 1948)

Outside her studio, in plaza del Carmen, a number of life size human figures cast in bronze depict life as seen through her eyes. Her open studio is a delightful gallery of both 3 dimensional and 2 dimensional works, spanning many years.


Her life size figures in the plaza are what catch your attention and everyone enjoy the interactive quality of these pieces. Situated in front of the Church of Carmen, where she grew up, her sculptures have become the more popular attraction! Her model for the man sitting reading a newspaper often arrives in person to sits beside his bronze double and of course loves to be photographed adding a 4th dimensional twist to the pose! The group of three gossiping ladies are perhaps a little more discrete, but the empty chairs in this group invite you to join the circle and pass on the local news!!!

Camaguey is famous for its huge water jars and another figure on the street is the old man who delivers water in jars. Sadly he is dead now but his bronze self reminds everyone of their history!

Much of Martha’s work revolves around the role of women in Cuban society and in the world at large. Martha has been honoured by leading Cuban art critics and has received prestigious awards for her work.

The plazas main focus is the twin towered church of Carmen built in 1823 – 1825, and the convent of the Ursulin order adjoining. Post revolution and the banning of religion, all these historic buildings fell into disrepair and ruin. This building and church has recently been restored thanks to the UNESCO award!

You can imagine what a delightful place it is to stop and pose for photos!

The best way to tour this historic city is by bici taxi who will take you to all the historic sites. The winding streets make finding your way around somewhat difficult and your driver will be able to tell you proudly about his home town!

Luckily for us Camaguey received a UNESCO world heritage site status and the historic centre has been improved and maintained to preserve its colonial and pirate past!

Why not book your tour “Mi Cubita” and enjoy Camaguey for yourself
http://encompasstours.com/tours/cuba/mi-cubita-cuba14-days/
For a shorter tour try our “A Cuban Snapshot” and enjoy Havana, Vinales and Trinidad!
http://encompasstours.com/tours/cuba/a-cuban-snapshot-7-days/