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José Rodríguez Fúster, Fusterlandia

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About the Artist/Site

Fúster was born in Villa Clara, Cuba, and began art school at age 14, when we went to the Sierra Maestra to teach as part of Castro’s new Literary Campaign. From 1963-65 he attended the Art Instructor’s School and he began working as a ceramist in 1966.

After moving to the run-down neighborhood of Jaimanitas on Havana’s northwest side some thirty years ago in order to set up his own studio, Fúster’s work has become more and more renowned as he has spread out beyond his original site. In fact, his neighborhood began to fuel his work, as he worked, along with community members, to create a living, growing art project that now incorporates over fifty houses. Fusterlandia, as it has become known, has spread over the buildings’ walls, benches, gardens, and façades, as well as onto bus stops, fountains, and gates, mixing paints and ceramic shards (in the picassiette/trencadís style) in a whimsical and colorful expression.

Inspired by artists such as Picasso and Gauguin, Fúster has also clearly been inspired by his love of his country, and he incorporates many Cuban symbols in his work. The country’s elongated coast is represented by an alligator; a rooster references the passion of its people. Figurative illustrations of people playing dominos and music, or of quintessentially important references to daily Cuban life, such as electric fans, belching buses, and old cars, are all brilliantly colored and carefully installed. Images that recall the Santería religion are also featured

Fúster continues to work on expanding Fusterlandia as, at the same time, he creates smaller, discrete works, some of which have been exhibited worldwide. His work has inspired a new generation of young artists to work as well. In 1996 he received the Distinction of National Culture Award, the highest honor that the Cuban government bestows upon its artists.

~Jo Farb Hernández



Map and site information

Avenida 3ra A
La Habana, La Habana, Cuba
Latitude/Longitude: 23.089846 / -82.483123

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