Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” but Cuban Style

By Safie M. Gonzalez

HAVANA TIMES – Sometimes, you have to laugh so as not to cry… This is something we Cubans say a lot, especially when things aren’t going well.

Yesterday, I was chatting with a friend on WhatsApp. She told me how exhausted she was of standing in so many lines, because when it isn’t for chicken, it’s for minced meat, and if it’s not for that, it’s for detergent or cooking oil. Not to mention everything else, because anything Cubans need – whether it’s an electrical appliance to a simple piece of candy, which the youngest kids request – can only be bought from stores selling in USD.

The Scream by Edvard Munch

Anyway, getting back to what led me to write this article. It turns out that my friend, who has a wonderful knack for painting, told me that Edvard Munch would have surely been inspired to paint his famous “The Scream”, if he had seen a line like the one she waited in.

For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy this painting, it features a man with an agonizing expression in a landscape, with an orange and stormy sky as the background.

The scream, agonizing, turbulent; three key words to describe the lines in this country. Yes, my friend was right in making such a comparison, giving her artistic view of the problem.

I have already lost count of how many times she has written to me from standing in line, tired, insistent, but in great need of these products at the same time, just like every other ordinary Cuban, the ones that don’t have family abroad to top up their dollar debit cards.

Anyhow, following my friend’s artistic concept, I would also dare to compare a Cuban line to the “Guernica” by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. The famous painting depicts the German bombing of the Basque town that shares the same name. In the painting, we can see people running away, trampling on top of each other, maybe asking for help.

Different times, different reasons and completely different situations, that have inspired the greatest painters. However, we can perfectly adjust them to our current day, which is reflected in this art.

Yes, my friend, the misfortune and sad situations of today will also inspire and give rise to great works like these. Maybe at some point in the future, her name will be well-known for depicting another scream, and not exactly Edvard Munch’s one.