Cinderella May and Prince Charming Macron — Street Art

This is our entry in Lens-Artists Challenge #45 Street Art.

This beautifully-drawn street art in Paris, France, features Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, and Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK) and Leader of the Conservative Party.  The tableau suggest that Cinderella May, with her iconic pearl necklace and a UK sash, is leaving Prince Charming Macron behind with the UK’s (symbolic) star from the flag of the European Union (EU).  One item missing is a Brexit clock about to strike midnight. We wonder: Had this street art been composed in the UK, how would it have been different?


This photo was taken on April 9, 2019. Specs are:

Canon 200D, ISO 200, f/9.0, 1/80 sec, 29 mm.

Lisbon Shadows — Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Shadows

This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Shadows.

Walking through the Alfama in Lisbon, Portugal, we came across this double-shadowed building. In an area famous for its street art, the wall featured a simple shadow of a girl surrounded by flying birds. We were struck by the juxtaposition of the faux shadows  with the real shadows thrown by the bush and window shutters.


This photo was taken on September 8, 2017. Specs are:

Canon 100D, ISO 100, f/16, 1/50 sec, 18 mm.

Cloaked in the Alfama

This is our entry in The Daily Post Daily Prompt: Cloaked.

Lisbon, Portugal, has some of the greatest street art in the world. This stick-on graffiti (“sticker art”) is located on the side of a house in the labyrinth of the Alfama District.  Even though the  boots and part of a tire have been peeled from the wall, this flying cloaked figure has kept its distinctive starred cape and tiger-striped hood.

This photo was taken on September 8, 2107. Specs are:

Canon 100D, ISO 200, f/8.0, 1/125 sec, 29mm

A Colorful Collage of Parisian Street Art

This is our entry in The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Collage.

Arguably the best street art in Paris, France, can be found on Rue Dénoyez at the edge of the 20th arrondissement.  Below is a stretch of that street, with the wall covered in a colorful collage.

This photo was taken on September 17, 2016. Specs are:

Canon 100D, ISO 100, f/8, 1/125 sec, 42 mm

Rue Dénoyez: Paris Street Art

Before visiting Paris in September this year, I asked a fellow blogger where the best street art can be found. Without hesitation, the answer was Rue Dénoyez. This one-car-wide lane  is lined with abandoned stores with grilled and shuttered windows, with brick sidewalks indistinguishable from the street except for the shallow gutters and the stanchions that establish the pedestrian right-of-way on both sides.  A long stretch of sidewalk on one side is inexplicable blocked, tucked behind a temporary (?) metal panel and wire barrier, but the original wall behind is still visible. At least half of the length of this two-block street is covered in colorful street art – every wall, window, trash can, flower pot, and even some of the stanchions.

Rue Dénoyez Long View from Rue de Belleville

At the entrance to the street from the Rue Ramponeau end, at 3 rue Dénoyez, is the trendy restaurant le Desnoyez.

Restaurant le Desnoyez

While some of the foot traffic on Rue Dénoyez is clearly local citizenry taking a shortcut to somewhere else (this street is extremely convenient to the Paris Métro), there are usually a few tourists wandering slowly down the street and back, studying each image, trying to understand what it means to the person who created it. Is it a political statement or just humor? Who is the boy pictured lower right below? His eyes suggest a sad story.

We zigzagged slowly down the street, taking pictures of whatever caught our eye. There were only a few other persons on the street also interested in the art. It occurred to me that I might not want to be on this street after dark, but I felt safe enough in the bright sunlight. (Rue Dénoyez is located at the edge of the 20th arrondissement of Paris and is very near the locations of the terrorist attacks of November, 2015.)

Reaching the unofficial end of the display, I decided to take more pictures of art I had skipped on the first pass. I turned and worked my way back up the street, totally engrossed in capturing the extraordinary images. About halfway back, I became aware that we were the only two people on the street – except for four tall uniformed policemen carrying long automatic weapons and staring at us. They had appeared from nowhere! I “calmly” took one last photograph, and as we walked past them, I said “Bonjour” to one of them. We “calmly” walked back to the entrance of the street and turned to see the street empty behind us. They had vanished again.

If you are ever in Paris and would like to see the current version of this frequently-changing street art, then ride the Paris Métro to the Belleville station on Line 2 and Line 11. Exiting the Métro station, walk east one short block on Rue de Belleville, and then turn right (south) onto Rue Dénoyez.

You could combine a visit to Rue Dénoyez with a visit to Père Lachaise Cemetery, also a great photography destination. The cemetery is also on Paris Métro Line 2, only four stops away at the Philippe Auguste station, which exits at the main entrance to the cemetery. (The Père Lachaise station, while only three stops away on Line 2, exits near a side entrance that is closed to the public.)


Cuban Diary: Public Art

This post features some public art we saw on plazas and streets of Havana. By public art, we mean art that was available for public viewing without paying a fee. Some was religious, some was political, some was traditional, and some was contemporary. The photographs shared here include only statues and street art (graffiti).

Religious Art

The two religious statues that are seen by almost every tourist in Old Havana are the Christ of Havana and the statue of the priest and young boy.

The Cristo de La Habana (Christ of Havana) statue is located  on top of La Cabaña hill overlooking Havana Bay. The statue was carved in Italy of white Carrara marble; after its blessing by Pope Pius XII in Italy, it was unveiled here on December 24, 1958, only 15 days before Fidel Castro entered Havana during the Revolution. At 20 meters (66 feet) tall, standing 51 meters (167 feet) above sea level, it is visible from many places in Havana. It is also possible to view Havana from the base of the statue.

Christ of Havana

The statue of the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra y Ferrer with a Juaneño Indian boy is located in the Plaza de San Francisco de Asis in front of the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis. On September 23, 2015, Pope Francis conferred sainthood on Junipero Serra, who founded missions in Baja California and in California.

Political Art

Four political art works honor Antonio Gades, Abraham Lincoln, Yasser Arafat, and Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

Antonio Esteve Ródenas (Antonio Gades), best known as a Spanish flamenco dancer and choreographer, co-founded the Spanish National Ballet. As a member of the Central Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Peoples of Spain, Gades was also a political activist during the Spanish transition to democracy (The Transition) following the death of Spain’s military dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.  Fidel Castro decorated Antonio Gades with the Order of José Martí, a state honor, shortly before Gades’ death in Madrid in 2004.

The statue of Antonio Gades is located on the Plaza de la Catedral in Old Havana, in front of the Palacio de Lombillo.

Abraham Lincoln is honored in Havana with a miniature sculpture in the Vedado neighborhood, a bust in the Museum of the Revolution, and a bust near the Capitolio. The statue of Lincoln standing in front of a chair is located on the Avenida de los Presidentes in front of the Abraham Lincoln Escuela de Idiomas, a foreign language school.

Slaves were brought to Cuba beginning in the 1500s to work on Spanish sugar cane plantations. Abraham Lincoln is important to Cuba because he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 to free slaves in the Southern US. The  Emancipation Proclamation helped put pressure on Spain to end slavery in Cuba; the Cuban slave trade ended in 1867.

Abraham Lincoln

This statue of Palestinian leader Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa ( Yasser Arafat) is located on 7th Avenida in Havana.The statue is 1.95 meters (6’5″) tall; Arafat was 1.57 meters (5’2″) tall.

The statue was unveiled on November 24, 2012, by Akram Samhan, the Palestinian ambassador to Cuba. Formerly the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) opposed to Israel, Arafat was instrumental in a series of (ultimately unsuccessful) negotiations for peace with Israel; for this he (along with Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israel President Shimon Peres) received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

Part of the special connection between Yasser Arafat and Fidel Castro is this: Palestinian soldiers were trained in Cuban guerrilla training camps under the direction of the KGB in the 1960s, and Cuban soldiers fought in support of Syria during the Yom Kippur War in the 1970s.

Arafat was revered by Fidel Castro and awarded the Bay of Pigs Medal during his first visit to Cuba on November 24, 1974.

Yasser Arafat

Ernesto “Che” Guevara, a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary originally from Argentina, was one of the three most recognizable figures (along with Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos) in the Cuban Revolution. An expert on guerrilla warfare, Che left Cuba in 1965 to continue (unsuccessfully) his version of world revolution, first in the Congo and later in Bolivia, where he was executed on October 9, 1967.

Che Guevara is idolized in Cuba as a martyr, and his image on a t-shirt is one of the most popular souvenirs of Cuba. The street art (pictured below) is a highly-processed version of a photograph taken of Che on March 5, 1960, by Alberto Korda.

Graffiti of Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Traditional Art

A traditional piece of art, the sculpture of Polish pianist-composer Frederic Chopin sitting on a bench, is located in the Plaza de San Francisco de Asis in front of the Hotel Palacio del Marques de San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal.

The sculpture was unveiled on December 21, 2010, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth.

Frederic Chopin

Contemporary Art

We saw several pieces of contemporary art in Old Havana, including The Conversation, Fantastic Voyage, Nature, Xico’s Travels Through Latin America, and three examples of street art.

The bronze sculpture La Conversación (The Conversation) is located in the Plaza San Francisco de Asis in Old Havana. Created by the French sculptor Etienne, it shows two figures in an intense discussion. It was unveiled on May 25, 2012, with Etienne and French ambassador Vittorio Perrota (the donor) in attendance.

(Note in the photo on the right the statue of Junípero Serra and the Indian boy in front of the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis (the building with the tower) on the other side of the square.)

The bronze sculpture Viaje Fantastico (Fantastic Voyage), by the contemporary Cuban painter, sculptor, and illustrator Roberto Fabelo, was unveiled on January 20, 2013. Similar to many of the artist’s paintings, the sculpture depicts a woman wearing only shoes and holding a gigantic fork as she sits astride a giant rooster. This sculpture is one of a limited edition of only five. Fabelo, who was the 2004 winner of Cuba’s National Arts Award, donated the statue.

El Gallo (the rooster) is an important symbol in Cuban life, representing strength and power.

The statue is located in Plaza Vieja (Old Square) in Habana Vieja (Old Havana). (Fun fact: The Plaza Vieja (Old Square) was originally called Plaza Nueva (New Square) in 1559.)

Also located in Plaza Vieja in Old Havana is a 10 meter (about 33 foot) tall  flower sculpture named Escultura Natura (Nature).  Natura was created of Cuban marble by Cuban sculptor Juan Narcisco Quintanilla in 2010.


 Another exhibit in Plaza Vieja is part of the Exposicion de artistas latinosamericanos: “Crossings Xico Latin America” (“Xico’s Travels Through Latin America”) is  a series of 16 stylized dogs standing around the fence that surrounds the fountain in the middle of the square.  These are the mythical pre-Columbian god dog, Xico, as envisioned by eight Cuban artists and others in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Panama. Each cartoon xoloitzcuintle (Xico) is made of reinforced vinyl, stands 1.8 meters (5’11”) tall, and is covered in colorful designs. From November 12 until  December 12, 2015, the pieces were on exhibit in the Plaza de San Francisco de Asis, after which they were moved to Plaza Vieja.

The project coordinator, Mexican artist Cristina Pineda, conceived this representation of Xico as a legacy of Aztec culture. Recognizing that foreign characters (e.g., Mickey Mouse, Powerpuff Girls) are popular with Latin American children, Pineda would like to further the Xico initiative with programs in which children are encouraged to create their own versions of Xico from clay.

(The fountain, somewhat visible inside the fence, is a replica of the original Carrara marble fountain with four dolphins that was destroyed under Batista in 1952 to make way for an underground parking lot, also now demolished. Renovation of the buildings around the square, damaged by the parking lot construction, was begun in the 1980s.)

The last photo of contemporary art is actually three pieces of street art (graffiti) on the side of a low building.

The image on the left is signed “atomiko en la habana” and was created by the street artist self-named as atomiko. Atomiko, a native of Miami, Florida, created the first version of the orange character in 2008 in reaction to the demolition of the Miami Orange Bowl.

The image in the middle was created by the street artist “Abstrk,” also a native of Miami, Florida. His art is distinguishable by the eyes of the subject, which create an intimate connection between the viewer and the soul of the subject.

The image on the right was created by the Cuban street artist “5 Stars.” His graffiti can be found on many walls in Havana, especially in Centro Habana, the municipality (borough) bordering Habana Vieja to the west. Some of his artwork can be viewed on the Facebook page for 5stars.


We hope you have enjoyed this look at public art in Havana. Stay tuned for more of our Cuban diary. The last post will provide general impressions of Cuba, based on our look into Cuba’s history and motivated by what we saw during our short time in Havana. If you want to catch up on previous posts, please read:

Eight Days in Cuba: an Introduction

Cuban Diary Day 1: Arriving in Cuba

Cuban Diary Day 2: Squares of Old Havana

Cuban Diary Day 2: Views of Old Havana

Cuban Diary Day 3: Cigars, Salad and Salsa

Cuban Diary Day 3: Ernest Hemingway’s Finca Vigia

Cuban Diary Day 4: Religion, Restoration, and Revolution

Cuban Diary Day 5: Society, Art, and a Micro-brewery

Cuban Diary Day 6: Las Terrazas Eco-community

Cuban Diary Day 7: Music and Revolution

Cuban Diary Day 8: Leaving Cuba

Cuban Diary: A Few of Hemingway’s Bars

Cuban Diary: Vintage Cars

Cuban Diary: Night Photography

Salvador Dali – Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Heads or Facial Features

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Heads or Facial Features (Human or Animal)

Salvador Dali at Stravinsky Fountain

This is a photograph of graffiti (or street art) on the side of a building at Place Igor Stravinsky, beside the Stravinsky Fountain and near the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The image is of Salvador Dali.

This photo was taken in February, 2015.