During the first week of June, in Old Havana, civilians with tattoos went to a young man’s parlor, asked him to sketch out a tattoo for them and, when it was time to pay, took out a confiscation order, identifying themselves as inspectors from the Ministry of Labor.
I get on a bus and see people run and cling to the open door, trying to keep their heels from being mangled. I see a mother hoist her kid onto her shoulder and grab hold of another passenger’s waist, struggling to hold on to his neighbor with calloused hands.
Following the migratory crises of the 1990s, tattoos went from being the mark of sailors, former inmates and criminals to inscriptions born by a wide range of people, not all of whom had a “socially unacceptable” past.
Yomer Fidel Montejo Harrys was born in Camagüey in 1983. Coming face-to-face with this 31-year-old artist, we find ourselves with a young man with a watchful eye and a friendly smile. An artist who has travelled along a long road of search, discovery and exploration which goes far beyond the naivety that we had discerned at a first glance.
This is a very controversial issue, particularly in Cuba. Because of the embargo imposed by the US government, Cuba has had restricted access to information – to books, music, films, software, operating systems and other products. The government’s response has been that of the so-called “cracking” of all types of software.