A new painting hanging in Hialeah City Hall brings a little piece of Cuba and its history to the town famous for its Cuban exile community.
New painting in City Hall recalls history of Cuba
A 5-by-3-foot image greets visitors to the Hialeah mayor’s office at City Hall.
In the center of the vibrant work, independence leader José Martí cries over Cuba while the religious, cultural and political history of the island unfolds around him.
Artist Porcia “Tony” Fernandez talks quickly as he points at each scene, jumping from one symbolic image to another. Fernandez recently loaned the vibrant painting to the city after working on it for nearly two years. The works’ name: La Patria, which is Spanish for “The Homeland.”
“When Cubans walk into City Hall, I want them to remember,” said Fernandez, 66.
La Patria traces Cuba’s history beginning with Christopher Columbus’ arrival in 1492 — but gives a nod to Cuba’s native people with the image of wooden drums. He depicts slavery and the Spanish-American War — but abruptly ends Cuba’s story with the arrival of the Granma, the ship that brought dictator Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries from Mexico to Cuba in December 1956. Castro declared victory in 1959.
“In 1959, the history of Cuba ends. The democratic history ends,” Fernandez said.
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