The attention and discipline of these young people is truly impressive, and several already are developing dance and performance skills that are riveting!
Pérez and Larios share global sensibilities with a naturalist slant. Gregorio Pérez Escobar creates sensual wooden objets that tackle what he describes as universal paradoxes that thematically range from the environment to psychology. For example, a brain impaled on the shaft of a hand-crank motor or a denuded tree stuck in a pencil sharpener. Larios, on the other hand, uses oil on canvas and sometimes acrylics on cardboard to create paintings that are meditative. Trained in photography and influenced by European and US hyperrealisits, he creates images of plants and insects that are almost Buddhist in their elegant simplicity. He tells us, "We live in an aggressive world, where nature and human beings are constantly assaulted. When I sit down to paint, I feel a spiritual peace that isolates me from that violence." Rodrick Dixon is a Cuban-Jamaican artist and graduate of the School of Plastic Arts in Camagüey, whose paintings explore the intersection of his dream/fantasy world and daily reality living in a Cuban-Caribbean world.
Various state offices have been working with Larios on restoring the building, which is located two blocks from Plaza de Areas in the historic sector of the city that has been proposed for World Heritage status.
Ileana toured us around their home that functions also as a gallery and a piece of art in that every surface is covered with their work salon style! Married in 1971, there home is full of collected antiques that ranging from vintage toys to bits and pieces picket up here and there. Joel graduated from the Camagüey Professional School of Art (1970) and his work addresses aspects of religiosity and spirituality blending undertones of Catholic and Afro-Cuban cults and imagery in a palette predominantly of red, white and black. He has been awarded numerous national prizes, and is a member of the Union Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC — National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba). In contrast, Ileana's work is a celebration of color, glitter and mixed-media. She received her professional arts degree in 1983. I regret not having purchased one of Ileana's large collage works — The Bride — from a series of women's portraits that incorporated a vintage wedding dress.
Famished, we head to Campana de Toledo on the Plaza San Juan de Dios for lunch. A state-owns restaurant in a beautiful former residence, the food was OK though the service was outstanding!
While getting up the nerve to hit the dance floor, I become entranced with Lola . . . at least that is the name I give her . . . who is carefree and sensuous in her zest for life. Yes, someday when I grow up I want to be like Lola!
But for now ... up to the rooftop for a drink and views ... and watch dark clouds roll in ...
No sooner are we seated by the owner and drink orders given, than our host steps outside to yell out for a local musician to come and entertain us with traditional songs and a few Beatle songs — a very good guitarist and singer. As the evening wore on the sky turned very dark and rain fell by the bucketfuls. When the sky cleared, we were treated with a beautiful golden light that bathed the sky.