Fotorreportaje por Janis Hernández
HAVANA TIMES — Political propaganda has been accompanying Cubans lives since 1959. Every street, every town, every city, every province, the entire country is covered with signs bearing slogans, with billboards showing the images of government leaders, photographs of revolutionary martyrs, emblems and political jargon.
At the side of the road, over streets and avenues, at public spaces, on buildings, in parks: the entire island is flooded by slogans and icons that appear to remind us the way things work around here.
“Socialism or Death!”, “Freedom for the Five!”, “Ever Onward to Victory!” and a million other similar statements appear to follow us everywhere.
Many a time, I can’t help but feel a little like the character in George Orwell’s novel, when he felt that the enormous sign posted everywhere seemed to stare at him from all angles, burning the phrase above it into his mind: “Big Brother is Watching You.”
Luckily, someone had the idea of creating a project titled Arteciudad, which consisted in setting up large, urban billboards with the works of local artists and information about the artist and their work. The idea was to turn Santiago de Cuba into a vast, outdoor gallery.
Of course, this is not the only type of billboard one comes across in the city. Many of the ones set up are found at the entrance to clinics and hospitals, or at street corners, next to a stop sign, offering us a visual balance that passersby are enormously grateful for.
Below we offer you a series of images showing the signs that saturate our city, alternating between the political and the artistic.
Texto: Dariela Aquique
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