Luyano, a Havana Neighborhood on the Fringe

All photos are by El Estornudo

Photos and Text by El Estornudo

HAVANA TIMES – These are faces from Luyano (Diez de Octubre municipality), an old Havana neighborhood whose history dates back to the distribution of ejido lands in the mid-19th century.

“The border of this group of neighborhoods, which were called Concha for a very short time, were to the north and east a road called Camino del Alcoy that was later called Calzada de Concha, to the south the Calzada de Luyano and to the west the Calzada de Jesus del Monte. The name of Luyano comes from the Uyano river that was originally known by the name, possibly of indigenous origin,” we read in a historical article that appeared in Cubaencuentro.

Luyano got its final name, presumably due to a transcription error. It is the slip up that seeks to last for eternity.

Today the neighborhood continues to be on the fringe, even though Havana has inevitably spilled far beyond it over the last century and a half.

However, the photographer can only shoot the present, and then only provide some elusive information: “Luyano is one of those neighborhoods frozen in huge lines, noise, and crazy people with almost sane attitudes amid so much surrealism.”

There would not seem to be a better art medium than the portrait to account for that immobility. Whoever walks through the streets of Luyano is any way detained in time. Or they slip insensibly into error.

I suspect that some decisive error has been transcribed many times, in each of these looks, these bodies.

“A place where a river passed and now lives, every day, a gale… slow and deadly,” says the author of these photographs, published on condition that he not be named.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

One thought on “Luyano, a Havana Neighborhood on the Fringe

  • I know that what we see in the photos is the selection of the photographer, but the Havana Times article with photos of Luyanó in 2013 shows a more vibrant and lively neighbourhood. But, maybe, the difference is accurate of how times have changed.

Comments are closed.