CUBA CULTURAL EXCHANGE PROJECT: SEED OF ETERNAL FRIENDSHIP MURAL

Artist: Patricia Barrera

Site: Cardenas, Cuba

MURAL ARTS PHILADELPHIA

About the Project

After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, and the severing of U.S.-Cuba ties two years later, the countries had no diplomatic relations until December 2014, when an initiative by President Obama led to the reopening of embassies in Washington and Havana.

As relations thaw between the US and Cuba, Mural Arts Philadelphia proposed a service learning opportunity that would allow us to take two current students, three recent high school graduates (and Mural Arts Alumni) and myself to Cardenas, Cuba, where we collaborated on a new mural designed by a team of Cuban artists. The mural will adorn the iconic Cine Cárdenas and will explore the concept of the arts as a bridge between cultures.

In February of 2017 five students traveled with us from Philadelphia to Cuba, jumpstarting the creative process for a 6,000-square-foot mural that will symbolize developing US–Cuba relations. Half of the large mural will be painted on parachute cloth in Philadelphia, and half in Cardenas. On our first trip, I worked with a group of ten artist from the Association of Cuban Artisans and Artists and trained them in mural making techniques as well as installation planning and procedures. The students and I worked with Cardenas artists to create this smaller mural titled "Seed of Eternal Friendship."