Gina Pellon

Woman, 1984

Gina Pellon. La Habana, 1926. "With the coming to power of Fidel Castro a number of scholarships were created for artists. I applied for one, but I was not among the finalists. Lacking financial resources to go to Europe, I contacted a st eamship company in an effort to find passage to Europe. The person in charge said he would give me o free ticket if I brought him twelve scholarship recipients. I showed up with fifty! The stay in Paris was limited by the Cuban government to three months, and when they had passed, Roberto Fernandez-Retamar, who was the Cuban cultural attache in Paris, demanded our return. I flatly refused, and, in doing so, my opposition to the Cuban government become evident. Fernandez-Retamar was furious, but I remained in Paris. I had nothing to fear; I had my training and experience from Cuba. Following my graduation from San Alejandro I had worked as an art teacher for three yeors. I allowed children to express themselves freely, to tell their stories through colorfu l strokes of the brush. My pointing is just that, a kind of multicolor graffiti. I believe that every artist has preconceived innate ideas; but when an artist goes into the world, the universe unfolds before him. This was my case in Paris, and also in the Scandinavian countries. When I arrived with my tropical colors to the sober and gray tranquillity of Scandinavia, it was as if I had brought the sun to them. They love my pointing. When an artist leaves his country, he ports with his frontiers, but retai ns a familiar horizon. Mine continues to be Cuban. I have traveled around the world three times, North to South, East to West. I feel that in the United States people are willing to take risks, and that nowhere else con you find the same degree of freedom of expression. Yet I have lived happily in Paris, because I was welcomed right away; for me this city is the heart of the world."