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Feature: Town banks on Chinese-Cuban painter's legacy to boost tourism
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  • //english.dbw.cn  2018-06-11 15:50:33
     

    At a midday, sunshine falls vertically on a dusty street in the Cuban town of Sagua La Grande, the birthplace of late Wifredo Lam, the son of a Chinese-Cuban couple and Cuba's most universal painter.

    Lam was born in 1902 in a humble wood-and-tile house at No. 334 Carmen Ribalta Street, just a few blocks from the central square. A small sign reminds visitors that Lam's childhood home, with its red door, windows and bars, has been declared a national monument.

    This sleepy town in central Villa Clara province, about 360 km east of Havana, is betting Lam's legacy can attract tourists and become a source of livelihood for its 54,000 residents.

    With that in mind, the town is developing a kind of cultural route that features Lam-related landmarks.

    Overlooking the central square, a yellow-and-white building with beautiful bars on the windows houses the Wifredo Lam Art Gallery, featuring several of his works, with the best being known as "The Jungle."

    The son of Lam Yam and Ana Serafina Castillo, Lam was always conscious of his country's multicultural roots, and went on to develop a unique style that combined the surrealism and cubism of painters like Picasso, whom he knew, with a Caribbean sensibility, as many Cubans do today.

    "For us, Lam is a fundamental figure, not only artistically speaking, but also spiritually," painter Mabel Alfonso, who works at an engraving workshop in Sagua La Grande, told Xinhua.

    Alfonso, who also teaches painting to local children, said he has been influenced by Lam, "because in a way, when you study and learn about his work, you take with you everything that happened in Sagua La Grande, and it takes you back to the time when he lived here."

    That legacy has also been inherited by another contemporary Cuban painter, Alexis Leyva Machado, known as "Kcho", who considers Lam, who died in 1982, an inspiration.

    "Lam is the essence of Cuba, he is the best example of what we are," Kcho said, while touring the Sagua La Grande art gallery accompanied by Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero, who is determined to boost tourism to the town.

    "Lam personifies our cultural capabilities, our (ethnic) mix, our blood," he said in his characteristically raspy voice.

    Coinciding with this year's International Tourism Fair, Kcho inaugurated an exhibit in town titled "A Door Ajar", in tribute to Sagua La Grande's favorite son.

    The enduring legacy of Wifredo Lam may help put this small town on Cuba's tourism map.

    Author:    Source:xinhua    Editor:Yang Fan

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