Memorial Day Weekend is meant for us to take a pause and pay tribute to those who lost their lives in service to our country. It also marks the unofficial start of summer. For many Philadelphians, it is traditionally spent with family and friends enjoying backyard barbecues or relaxing down the Jersey shore. We are however experiencing lots of rain and temperatures that could set a record low for this time of the year. It certainly is looking and feeling like a wet spring day in March or April. I am “escaping” the chill in the air by reminiscing balmy and sunny days when my family and I visited Cuba – particularly, a place called Fusterlandia.
Located in the fishing town of Jaimanitas, Fusterlandia is a 30 minute drive from Havana. This place was imagined and created by the Cuban artist Jose Fuster who specializes in ceramics, painting, drawing, engraving, and graphic design. He sought to recreate Gaudi’s public works in Barcelona and Brâncuși’s in Romania.
Fuster started in 1975 by working on his own modest wood house and decorating it in colorful mosaic. He expanded his art by asking if he could do the same to his neighbors’ homes and as they accepted, Fuster’s mosaic creations grew. More than 80 houses in Jaimanitas is adorned by Fuster’s murals which often represent the personality of the home owner.
Fusterlandia in Jaimanitas is full of color, whimsy, and fun. Walking through this place is a playful experience for both young and old – it cannot help but bring a smile. And who knows, you might end up meeting Jose Fuster himself when you visit.