Art, Cuba
Photography by Pablo López Luz

Between 2018 and 2019 Pablo López Luz traveled around Cuba searching for these unusual façades where the ironwork acquire a particular meaning beyond their typical purpose. Matanzas, Santa Clara, Camagüey and Pinar del Río are among the cities that inspired these photographs.

Romana Tropical takes a critical approach towards the concept of national identity, and aims to bring forward the country’s conflicting duality between its multi-ethnic cultural origin and its colonial past. As in most Latin American countries, the architectural heritage of the European mandate is more than apparent in the blueprint of the Cuban cities. Few remnants of the pre-colonial Caribbean architecture remain, relegated mostly to the city’s outskirts. However, a curious phenomenon has emerged in the last few decades in the peripheral streets of smaller towns—classical and baroque motifs have been readapted to decorate private spaces, where they fall prey to a vivid Caribbean color palette. They appear in the smallest details of the ironwork of suburban homes, decorating façades and doorways as a symbol of status and culture.

The notion that power and status still relate to a particular European aesthetic is completely at odds with Cuba’s revolutionary history. Yet, as reflected in this particular architectural style, it paints Cuba under a new light—a tropicalized, shipwrecked stronghold of the prior Roman glory.



This project was financed with Les Résidences Photographiques grant of the Quai Branly museum.