Cuban American artist paints from the heart
In The Miami Herald, our good friend Joe Cardona writes about another good friend, Ninoska Perez Castellon:
Perez Castellon uses broader strokes to comment
For some time now I’ve been gazing at some peculiar paintings in the Futurama art gallery in Little Havana. The vibrant paintings depict Cuban-themed angels, virgins, palm trees, hearts and habaneras (elegant Cuban ladies of yesteryear). What caught my eye, and more so my heart, was a welcoming tonality in the art. The paintings have an alluring appeal to anyone who carries a tinge of melancholy for Cuba.
As I paid closer attention one day, I realized the artist was Ninoska Perez Castellon, the famed Spanish-language radio host. I was taken aback at Ninoska’s new-found talent. This week I chatted with her to learn more about her paintings.
As I approached her gallery, I made a mental note to try to stick to chatting about art and not delve into our usual, black-hole conversations about Cuban politics. Predictably, it took a scant few moments after greeting one another, for me to ditch my game plan and plunge right into the obligatory politics of the day.
We shared impressions on how repugnant it was to observe President Obama greeting Cuban dictator, Raul Castro — and though we don’t quite agree on whether any fault should be placed on the president, the fact of the matter was, it was a repulsive sight for any freedom-loving Cuban American. We also conversed about Elian Gonzalez and his recent, pathetically rote diatribe equating Fidel Castro with God.
Eventually I got around to asking the nascent painter about her work. “I paint from the heart,” Ninoska explained. “These paintings are an expression of my passion for Cuba. The good thing is, I get to pick and choose the aspects of Cuban culture that I want to highlight.” It quickly became apparent that Ninoska’s paintings offer a respite from the sad and sometimes harsh realities of exile. The notion of exile has been overused, if not trampled, by many who have manipulated it for political and financial gain. However, in Ninoska’s case, it has been “her cause” for more than years.
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