From Greenwich to Cuba with ‘love’…

love-opera-victoria-baker“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page” said Saint Augustine.

There’s a lot of truth in that quotation. Travel is about more than just vacations and relaxation. It’s about learning about others and at a deeper level, about oneself.

The more different a place seems on the surface, the more it teaches us that fundamentally we are all the same.

The Greenwich Arts Council has a new hanging outdoor sculpture installation of three fiber- glass planes, shaped into red-painted and heart-shaped bodies. The sculpture is currently in front of 299 Greenwich Avenue and is entitled “Goodbye My Love”. Created by prominent contemporary Cuban sculptor Esterio Segura, the concept for the sculptures is to reference the love that is commonly found in contemporary relationships which often requires people to be separated from one another.

It’s also an ode to Cuba, redolent with nostalgia and longing. Indeed, Cuba is one of those places that longs for the past and yearns for the future…and this sculpture is the artist’s way of allowing us all to travel to the Cuba of his imagination.

Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Cuba in 1492. By 1511, Spaniards had established settlements and made Havana’s harbor a familiar stopping point on the journey to and from Spain. The early 1800’s brought a sugarcane industry boom to Cuba, which required immense numbers of black slaves.

Slavery was abolished in 1886 and Spanish rule ended. Cuba became an independent republic by way of a treaty in 1899, followed by a 1901 amendment allowing the U.S. to intervene in Cuba’s affairs. Cuba terminated the amendment in 1934. Fulgencio Batista became president in 1940, running a corrupt police state. A revolution was launched by Fidel Castro & Ernesto (Che) Guevara in 1956, which culminated on New Year’s Day 1959 when Batista fled into exile and Castro took over the government.

Cuba is a land of contrasts, redolent of nostalgia. I have yet to travel there but my imagination has long been captured by its Latin rhythms, its colorful buildings and the way past and present merge as one. Travel, when it’s experienced with a sense of exploration, wipes away ignorance and nurtures knowledge.

Yes, we all speak different languages and have different traditions but at the core we are all equal. Richard Branson, a pioneer in space travel, is working tirelessly to make space travel a reality. He believes that it will redraw the lines on the world map, and erase  borders…once we step out into the infinity of space we will no longer be citizens of the US, the UK, the EU…we will be citizens of the world.

Perhaps then we won’t need sculptures to express our differences.

 

Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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