Leslie Salgado Arzuaga

Leslie Salgado Arzuaga

Photo: Leslie Salgado.

Neither kinky nor bad hair

What put artist Susana Pilar on the path of Lo llevamos rizo (We wear our hair curly) was a personal experience. Rather, several painful experiences. "On the street many times, even nowadays, I have encountered people who offend and I have even suffered direct verbal aggressions, mostly from men, sadly black men, because I wear my hair natural," says Susana. Over the centuries, discrimination against black people has been expressed strongly in the western aesthetic sphere, excluding from conventional beauty canons the characteristic features of this group. And all in all, the appearance of the hair has represented an indicator of great weight. Also in Cuba. "For me it was surprising. I wanted to know if it was something that only happened to me or that happened to other people. But beyond knowing this ―because I could solve that with a questionnaire on the street― I wanted to go a step further and create, from my area of ​​action as an artist, a space to positivize natural Afro hair," says Pilar. Thus was born the Lo llevamos rizo work of public intervention, which participated in the 12th Havana Biennial in 2015 as part of the Entre, Dentro, Fuera (Among, Inside...

Lucía and Sixto. Photo: Christian Sudre.

Two Cubans in the mecca of magic

With the unique voice and tone of circus presenters, and in English with an evident Russian accent, the Ringmaster announces them: “From sensual and rhythmic Havana Cuba, please welcome Sixtooooo & Lucíaaaaaa!” The public bursts out in applause and I, whose chauvinistic pride is stirred, applaud stronger than anyone there. Like in a radio program, in comes the Latin music and, almost at the same time, in come the artists. Everything happens very fast. I don’t even have time to think of how happy my boyfriend would be if I could dress at that speed. Sixto and Lucía are Cuban magicians residing in Cuba with more and better international projection. King and queen of the quick change, an illusionistic modality unprecedented on the island, they have performed with the world’s most important circus companies. From China to Moscow, and through Latin America, they have won ovations, awards and, by pure work, the right to be in the Grand Cabaret, the French magic program in which every magician wants to be. The mecca of magic, we could say. Lucía is from Guanabacoa and she can’t deny it. Extroverted, expressive, “I’m from the land of artists,” she says with pride. Wherever he...

A Shark’s Journey from Havana to New Jersey

On Cuba’s northern shore, Cojimar appears peaceful, cooled by the refreshing winds of an especially cold February. Known as the place where an enormous white shark was caught in 1945, the fishing town that inspired Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is about to become news once again thanks to another large shark. It’s the last day of an expedition that gathered Cuban and US scientists for the first time, under the watchful gaze of the cameras of Shark, a Discovery Channel series. Luck and experience have come together and a male, 8-foot-long, longfin mako shark is fitted with a PAT satellite tag, 18 miles east of Cojimar. It’s the second time scientists from MOTE Laboratories accomplish this feat, and this time they do so alongside Cuban researchers. Now, it’s time to celebrate and wait. It’s been exactly 150 days since that last and encouraging day of July 15, 2015. In Cuba and the United States, researchers from MOTE Laboratories, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Coastal Ecosystems Research Center and other institutions involved in the expedition are about to receive the much-awaited news. According to Robert Hueter, director of the shark research department of MOTE, the satellite tag placed...

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