Havana ’59 - The Sea Wall

The Sea Wall - acrylic on canvas - 34" x 34"
El Malecon, the boulevard along the ocean in Havana, was constructed in 1901 during the temporary U.S. military rule of Cuba. It was completed in the 1920s and wraps around the city from the historical areas through the newer sections of the city and into Miramar.

We visited Havana while Hurricane Ida was finding its way along the U.S. coastline. The skies were mostly cloudy throughout our stay, and during a walk along the boulevard from Old Havana, waves continually crashed violently against the sea wall and into the street.

Much of the ocean front property along El Malecon, from the Old City to the newer sections, was abandoned and in ruins. The beautiful and decorative facades were crumbling from the salt sea sprays and the general decay of the infrastructure. The boulevard and its sidewalks were broken, and scaffoldings were used mainly to shore up buildings rather than for the purpose of renewal. Between ruins, you could find a small church, museum, or restaurant housed in a tent.

Many Cubans fish at the Malecon to catch their daily dinner, and in quieter moments, young people play games between the rocks and attempt to climb the sea wall.

My wife and I, along with two friends, traveled to the island in 2009 with my objective being to paint the small country. Since it was illegal to fly there directly, we entered through the Bahamas, and flew from there in a Russian built plane in November, and arrived soon after a hurricane had passed by. 

Overall, I painted 34 paintings from reference gathered on the five-day trip plus two paintings a created “en plein air” while on the island. I previewed the show in November 2011 for a fundraiser for Eastern University.

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