To Cuba and Back: Glexis Novoa Dwells on the Contradictions of the Communist Country

Glexis Novoa's painting Se Vende dominates the Juan Ruiz Gallery in Wynwood. The seven-by-ten-foot canvas is freighted with abstract symbols ranging from women's shoes to beer cans, a lap-top, a car, a pig's head, a bust of José Martí, an assault rifle, a skull next to a giant penis, and acronyms for Cuba's Committee for the Defense of the Revolution and Fidel Castro's July 26th Movement.

The 49-year-old Cuban-American artist, who was once a favored person on the island but emigrated in 1993, created it during a three-month stay in Havana this summer.

"While I was there, it seemed like everything was for sale," Novoa reflects. "I wanted to capture the fading political symbols that are part of the glamor of the Cuban atmosphere. The penis represents government machismo, and the skull represents the high level of cancer cases among the population, which, unlike those who visit Cuba for health tourism, often does not have access to health-care services."

See also: Slides and Seesaws at Spinello Projects

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