Painting, Spraying, Drawing on the old walls of Cuba is not really illegal. Infrastructure is for everyone. Houses are administrated by the government and people earn the right to live in them. There is no such thing as private property where one can do what he wants without applying for permission.
A paradise for urban artists – you paint where you want and its ok. Police man stop by, take a look and like the attempt to create a more lively surrounding. Sometimes the people living in the house have to clean away pictures when told so. If anybody, they are the ones responsible for their walls.
But wait, there still is a hook. There is no freedom of speech in Cuba! People who say, write or express any critical thoughts about the system are marked as antigovernmental. Once you are registered on the “black list” you will be watched closely. Forget about any kinds of benefits and don´t even ask the government for permission to do anything out of order. You won´t be allowed to travell, you cant achieve any higher position in your job and applying for legalisation of new construction works will be worthless.
Knowing about consequences there are still enough people fighting for a better life by expressing criticism on the Walls of the Cuban System.
Yulier P. Is a great artist. I love his paintings which are found in Habana and other cities. They enrich the streets in their beauty and add an interesting taste to the overall impression of Cuba. Interpretation of this art work is left to the spectator. Repeated images of big mouthes in the stomach areas and wings too small to fly for the fat, wormlike shaped figures, define the content concerned by his style of art. Colourfull and abstract appear his works in urban areas. One is directly tempted to imagine deeper thought and insightfull meanings behind these walls.
The day Carlos and I visited Julier in his atelier he told us about some troubles he just cleared with the government. A TV team interviewed him for a documentary about urban art in Cuba. Now he had to explain himself why he chose to give the interview to an internationally working channel instead of cooperating with the local government run broadcaster. Additionally he had to promise not to do it again before they let him go.
His art means life to him and he will continue on his path as long as possible!