Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cuba’s own Wax Museum is not in Havana but in Bayamo

Strolling on the always neat General García Walk, a central street turned into a boulevard, always busy with pedestrians going about their business, you can’t help but noticing with surprise the Wax Museum, the only one in Cuba in a beautiful new building.

This museum first opened on July 14, 2004 and three years later, on December 29, 2007, the original gallery became a real museum in a more spacious building on the same walk. There are several wax pieces on permanent exhibition ranging from reproductions of Cuban birds and reptiles to important characters of the region.

First and foremost and to the left is our José Martí, sitting at a desk, writing on a document, simple and great in his humbleness, slight and pure in his appearance.

Rita la Caimana’s reproduction is fascinating with its life-like facial expression. She was an eccentric character loved by everyone in the city, whose celebrity reached national proportions when she was immortalized in the lyrics of a famous son by the popular Los Compadres duet.

 There are also sculptures of celebrated Cuban musicians, such as the peerless Benny Moré, known as El Bárbaro del Ritmo (the master of the rhythm), Compay Segundo, Polo Montañes (Cuba’s guajiro natural), Sindo Garay and Carlos Puebla. Bola de Nieve, a glory of our music is sitting in front of his inseparable piano and it looks as if the singer is going to start his classic: “ay mamá Iné, todo’ lo negro’ tomamo’ café”.

Bola de Nieve
Cindo Garay
Polo Montañés

One piece is particularly moving, that of Fabio di Celmo, another victim of US backed terrorism against Cuba (find more about di Celmo in an earlier entry on this blog), wearing a football outfit he actually owned, sent by his father Giustino from Italy.

But, without doubt, the most convincing piece of all, is of course US writer Ernest Hemingway sitting on a chair his legs extended as if resting and ready to stand up any minute.

According to ACN, statues of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes (the Father of the Homeland) and  Argentinean-Cuban Ernesto “Che” Guevara will soon enrich the present exhibition.
The artists of all this work are Rafael Barrios and his two sons Rafael and Leander.

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