Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón"

HSV's picture
Submitted by HSV on

"Malecón", Emigration Metaphor

Eduardo Sarmiento is the author of the singular poster that takes the lead in the space for design on this occasion. We have picked it up due to its amazing synthesis of resources with which he makes his piece a visual statement of Habana on 1994. With a slight variation of our flag, he thinks deeply about the complexities of the migrating phenomenon in the national imaginary. And although Sarmiento doesn’t usually work these subjects, he agreed to share with HSV some criteria and details of the piece.

-I suggest taking the flag poster as a starting point for the interview. Tell us a little, please, about the story of this beautiful poster. How did it come up? Is it linked in some point to the migrating phenomenon of 1994?

This poster is entitled “Malecón” (Seafront). I designed it on 2002 when I still lived in Havana, and I printed it for the first time on 2012 in St. Louis. It is a politico-social statement that I created based on my experience about ´94 migration, but it isn’t limited to just that. The Balseros (raft-people) were the starting point, and with the time it have become an emigration metaphor.

The Cuban nation is fragmented, families are fragmented. There are Cubans scattered all over the world. I had to cut the star to make a boat and know the world. It isn’t any part of the flag; it’s the star that symbolises “the purity of ideals”.

When I did it I thought of a boat leaving the Island, now, I see it as a live boat going forward and backward, which never stops.

 -The migration of societies is a historical and universal phenomenon. In fact, we know you were born on Cienfuegos, you studied at ISDI, got graduated on 2000 and now you work in Miami. Well, then, can you give us your opinion about this phenomenon? Do you have any news or personal experiences around the migrating events of 1994 in Havana?

I believe that every human being is a world citizen and he should decide where he wants to live. My mother opened her legs in Cienfuegos and there I was born, but it doesn’t mean that I should stay in that city, which I love so much.

Homeland is a limit. I respect and love every country I have been, and I’m amazed by their cultures, odors, flavours. Defending human race, not portions of it. Diversity is a wonderful thing.

Specifically about the emigration of 94, I remember relatives and friends who left on rafts or little boats. I remember the families’ uncertainties and the silence of Cuban government.  

A lot of people also migrated from Cienfuegos. Many times I went to the “Laguna del Cura” to watch them go away.

 -As a designer, what do you think about the design of the boats that Havana’s people made on 1994?

I have never seen this phenomenon as a designer. It has been impossible for me to separate the people’s skill from the pain of so many persons.

 -We know that you live now in Miami and you still work as a designer and artist. Have you worked the migrating subject in your pieces again at some point of your career?

A year ago I worked a series of drawings entitled “A man living” where I deal about that subject. I worked it from my present position and the pieces are entitled:

A man lost a country

A man won the world

A man living

A man is everywhere

I usually don’t work this subject. I have been more interested on the flesh, flourishing, saliva and death.

Ps- These 4 pieces afore mentioned can be found on my website: 

*Eduardo Sarmiento Portero (Cienfuegos, 1980) (artist, designer and illustrator)

He was graduated on 2004 from the High Institute of Design (ISDI), in Havana. Now he lives and works in Miami, USA.

In Cuba he worked as a designer at the Cuban Institute of Book and Literature and as a teacher of illustration and poster designing on the High Institute of Industrial Design. He illustrated and designed the cultural magazine La Jiribilla de papel and he was one of the founders of the project Camaleón.

His work has been published on The New York Times, Texas Monthly, ESPN, The New Herald, Miami New Times and the Artecubano magazine, among others.


by: Arlette Castillo





Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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HSV's picture

Hi! thanks for your fedback, vital. About starting, its just a matter of finding what we want to say  and be consistent, our case it's all about Havana with multiple young authors, amazing endeavour. thanks again


Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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HSV's picture

you're right, and not only the admin, its a team work, from various writers, programmer, translator, we're so glad with the good reviews and even more being usefull 

Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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HSV's picture

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Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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HSV's picture

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Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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HSV's picture

Thanks for the review, we are constantly on facebook and twitter sharing everything about our city, conecting many sources in our timeline, building the big network of Havana.

Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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HSV's picture

Not about Cuba and Havana City specifically, that's why we're doing this. Thanks! 

Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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HSV's picture

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Eduardo Sarmiento's "Malecón" | Havana Streetview

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HSV's picture

Hi! thanks for the feedback, our project is still a work in progress as you can see, a newsletter is one of our milestones for sure among other features, stay in touch and thanks again! 

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