Havana on posters
To consider a poster about Havana could be a challenge. It is when we have the motive to synthesize in one idea or image what the city means to our individual or collective history, the enormous variety of symbols can be endless. That´s why, despite Havana is, at a complete volume and color, a supposedly open subject for a poster competition, the commitment with the icon-city sometimes becomes a metaphorical speech and, in some occasions it becomes a kind of conjugation of personal experiences.
The first official announcement of the First Competition havanstreetview.com, 2014 in Cultural poster, was favourably received by designers and graphic creators. The finalists were: Havana wants to be the most beautiful capital, by Laura Llópiz; Havana cries in the evenings, by Darwin Fornés, Havana, everywhere, by Eric Silva; Havana, welcome to starsparty, by Juan Carlos Polo Chaviano; Urban mermaids, by Glawdys Morey; Havana, by Edel Rodríguez Molano (Mola). These works reflect different mutations of a city that rebuilds itself all the time from deterioration, sadness, humour, magic, enjoyment and poetry.
Some works developed from the use illustration and photography, the relationship between color, texture and composition. These works enhance the erosion poetry like in the case of Laura and the satisfaction and grief if we consider Darwin´s. They are both posters that intermingle even from antagonist compositions. The facade of a city from the light and the complexity of the same city when the evening comes are in the skirt of a woman and in the stream of a bay. On the other hand, the appropriation from the taste, humour and even the cliché can be visualized in the works of Glawdys, Edel and Juan Carlos. They recreated elements of a new culture and a developing generation supported in cultural stereotypes, less polluted and compromised with contemporary referents and unprejudiced subjects.
The jury awarded unanimously the piece Havana, in all precences by the young and talented designer Eric Silva.
Havana turns itself. The poetry is a substance so real and devouring that we can find it everywhere. Lezama, it was the phrase that defined the poetic substance of the posters. The aesthetic treatment that Eric gave it is somewhat over elaborated —as Havana itself— if we consider the superimposition of distinctive signs of its culture. The text of Lezama, the compositional distinction of the ocean and the earth and their fortuitous elements were universes that stressed the mixture of his personality. Different interpretations stands out from the center of the poster and one of my favourites is Habana shore up, poetic and enchanted, the illustrations and transparencies of a city that is nearly a myth that dies and is reborn.
Besides the finalist works there were presented representative pieces with great aesthetic and conceptual values. We could mention Absolut Havana, by Katia Hernández Baldassarri; Havana, one word says everything, by Enrique Smith Soto; Havana, I like it, by Leriam Jiménez Echevarría; Havana, The art of hope (wait), by Julio César Llópiz; Swing, by Lisveth Cantillo Ponce de León and DNA by Charlis Alonso García.
In some of these solutions some concepts are dealt about what could be understood like a Havana identity, focusing on direct signs of our idiosyncrasy. Other ideas were addressed to represent hallmarks of Havana more tangibly like the Giraldilla (weather vane), the Morro and the music. It also came up some concepts related with the uncertainty of a shifting and unsteady city.
It is always a good time when creators get together to rethink a subject, and if it is the city that embraces them it is even better. Undoubtedly, it has been a beautiful and useful chance to have more than 20 posters about Havana. We only hope that initiatives and exchanges like these keep coming up to contribute to the historical and visual memories of our city.