Cuban artist turned his home into an art studio business

By Luis Sanchez, Havana, Cuba, January 2018

In Trinidad, Cuba artist Yonelquis Rodriguez paints in a studio with one window and little light. His home is build in cobblestone, has no electricity, and is always closed after dark.

His artwork hangs around , because he has turned his craft into a small business. Contrary to many Cuban artists, he does not enjoy painting political figures, Rodriguez said.

“It’s not my thing, I do it because tourists like it and my preferred art is preserving Trinidad’s culture,” Rodriguez said.

He favors painting antiques, cobblestones areas, and famous singers known to Trinidad, but he rarely successfully sells them.

“Tourists enjoy buying paintings relating to Fidel and Che, because of their political impact,” Rodriguez said.

Art has been an interesting career for him, he said, although it’s tough to make a living, but he loves it.

“Let art live,” Rodriguez said.

Author: Jill Ryan

Jill Ryan is a junior at Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. She is originally from New Jersey but now lives in Delaware. She was excited to hear that the Journalism Without Walls program was going to Cuba in January 2018. She never thought she would see Cuba because of President Donald Trump’s tightening of the embargo. So as soon as the opportunity arose she jumped on it. After preparatory research for the trip, Jill felt ready and excited to experience what Cuba had to offer. Once there, she found that Cuba, while a one-party regime, is quite relaxed and full of music. The people were well educated and very nice. Jill brought back lots of souvenirs as well as many stories, one she decided to publish. She wrote about the rising private sector in Cuba’s socialist economy as a way to show her audience that Cuban policy is changing. Jill hopes to one day visit Cuba again, it was an unforgettable trip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *