If you have ever dreamed that upon awakening some morning you’ll find the streets of your city, the buildings, and even the cars covered with colorful tiles, as if from a fantasy world, start planning your next vacation to Cuba and make it a point to visit Fusterlandia, a fantastic world made real in a lost neighborhood of Havana.
Explaining what, exactly, this picturesque neighborhood is, is rather complicated, because it’s so unique, so we will start by talking about its location: Fusterlandia is located on the outskirts of the city, specifically in the beach neighborhood of Jaimanitas, and owes its name to Cuban artist José Antonio Rodriguez Fuster. It used to be a decaying neighborhood, but since the advent of Fusterlandia, it has earned a well-deserved reputation as a place not to be missed when you visit Havana.
Passionate about ceramic tiles (apart from other artistic endeavors, he was also a painter and an engraver), in the eighties Fuster began to cover the façade of his workshop with colorful mosaics, at which point the neighborhood of Jaimanitas began to transform, never to be the same: little by little, his neighbors began offering the artist the façades of their own homes, allowing him to continue covering the neighborhood with colorful and imaginative mosaics, until a large part of it ended up looking like a city-sized canvas. To this day, Fusterlandia not only includes all kinds of buildings covered with mosaics, but also sculptures and poetic quotes found in the most unexpected corners of the neighborhood, in homage to the greats names in literature. References to artists such as Gaudí (for his inspiration in Barcelona’s Parc Güell) and Picasso, two figures greatly admired by Fuster, are recurrent throughout the neighborhood.
Currently, the area has become a meeting place for artists and has revitalized tourism and brought to light a visionary who has inspired several generations of Cuban artists.
Thinking of setting course for the magic and color of Havana? Start looking for your flight and let the countdown begin!
Photo | Joe Ross