Our good friend Hanna Simpson from DiaryofaTileAddict.com spends more time than most – probably more time than anyone – researching all the interesting ways tiles have been used by incredible creatives to produce art that can be enjoyed by the masses. One of her favourite finds has been José Rodríguez Fuster’s mosaic transformation of his neighbourhood.
It all began in Havana, Cuba, in 1975 when Fuster started with his own home, steadily converting it into a work of art. Eventually his neighbours began offering their own homes for him to decorate and now his artworks sprawl across 80 homes as well as the benches, sculptures, and street signs of the local area. In honour of the artist the unofficial name Fusterlandia has been adopted by this colourful town.
A clear amount of inspiration was taken from famous European artists, with his surrealist flair garnering him the name “Picasso of the Caribbean” and his ‘homenaje a Gaudí’ (homage to Gaudí) welcoming visitors to the local park. However, Fusterlandia is decidedly Caribbean at heart: celebrating figures important to the Cuban people such as Our Lady of El Cobre, the Queen and Patroness of the Cuban Peoples, taking inspiration from folk history and the Santería religion; with a repeated motif of Cuban flags and ‘Viva Cuba’ which stands proud atop eight chimney breasts.
Although predominantly working with mosaics - forming palm trees, dancing figures, chickens, suns, and crocodiles – Fuster also produces his own hand-painted tiles which can be found, unbroken, throughout the town. These can also be purchased by visitors, who may even be lucky enough to find him working in his studio or walking around the local area. His desire to create the world’s largest mural means he continues to add to the town’s collection, and locals and artists are also encouraged to contribute.
Image Credits - Dan Lundberg