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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Cuban car art on the move
Cuban painters decorate their famously unreliable cars and set off on a whistle-stop art tour of the country.
Nine Soviet-era cars have been decorated
A group of artists have taken to the road in Cuba with their work painted on their cars.

Prominent artist Eduardo Esposito told BBC World Service's Arts In Action programme that he and other artists were fed up with the fact that most art-work is now sold to tourists in Havana.

He said: "we are going to present this exhibition by heading to Varadero.

"It will be the longest gallery you have ever seen covering 300 kilometres. On the way back we will stop at as many towns as possible.

"It will be the first time that Cuba has ever seen a gallery of this kind."

Moving pictures

The artists involved have covered nine Soviet-era Ladas, Skoda cars with bright red devil's heads, African masks and Caribbean palm trees.

Explaining why he chose to paint life size skeletons and police men on the doors of his car, artists Julio Sesapena commented: "It's a satire, it's black humour."

Cuban car art on the move
"This art is for the people"
"I'm influenced by Latin American artists like Jose Guadalupe Posada and the muralist Diego Rivera," he added.

"It's a way of seeing life, spirituality and the inside of people."

More than 20 of Cuba's leading artists have withdrawn from the calm tranquillity of art showrooms and taken to the street.

"Sometimes the museum frightens ordinary people," an artist known as Mass said. "If the art is on the streets and it is rolling, people can see it more directly."

Mass explained how in a country that claims to be egalitarian, art is meant to be for the people.

"This way they can also interact, ask questions and see the work of well known artists.

"They can also touch it which is something that you can not do in a museum."

Multi coloured

The artists have not only spent time painting the cars, but they also told of their battle to get the exhibition on the road.

As legislation means that every vehicle must register its colour, this show is likely to be accessible for a limited period only.

"The most important thing is that people know what the Cuban artists are doing, no matter what the canvas is."

Cuban artist, Eduardo Esposito

Daniel Schweimler, the BBC's correspondent in Havana, explained how in just three months time all the art work will be destroyed.

"The paper work for any car that you own in the country stipulates the colour of the car - red, green, blue etc.

"These cars are now obviously multi coloured, so they had to get special permission to paint the cars in several colours.

"They only have three months when they can drive around with these works of art and after that the cars must be returned to their original colour."

Artist Eduardo Esposito speaks to Arts In Action
"It will be the longest gallery you have ever seen"
See also:

09 May 02 | Americas
US and Cuba's complex relations
09 Mar 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
Cuba's proud boxing tradition
25 Apr 02 | Americas
Timeline: Cuba
05 Apr 02 | Sci/Tech
Cuba's wired generation
18 Apr 02 | TV and Radio
Castro's daughter hosts Miami chat show
14 May 02 | Americas
Carter dismisses Cuba terror link
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