For our ongoing ‘Building Culture’ series, Anna Izquierdo captures a city where its fluctuating social and political history is mirrored in its architecture.
A history of assimilation and unrest manifests in Havana’s diverse buildings: Spanish townhouses, replete with tiles and patios, are visual reminders of colonisation during the sixteenth century; the Neoclassical columns and pastel colours a marker of the French retreat to Cuba from Haiti, in the early nineteenth century. The Art Deco institutions mirror the heavy influence of the United States in the early twentieth century; Cuban Baroque—inspired by European Baroque but with an added layer of texture—became popular in the eighteenth century; and raw, Brutalist buildings are remnants of the Cuban Revolution in the sixties.
This Caribbean city is a melting pot: a humid island where eclectic architectural styles from around the globe find their way in. The buildings mark the city’s outside influences, but what happens in and around them marks the native culture. An infectious charm exists in the streets as music, smells and a vibrant way of life dance around the architecture.
This photo essay is part of Lindsay’s ongoing ‘Building Culture’ series, documenting the relationship between architecture, place and culture in different parts of the world.
In Issue No. 1 we meet Australian fashion icon Jenny Kee, translator from Italian Ann Goldstein and French-Cuban music duo Ibeyi. We learn about Ramadan, the Aboriginal ball game Marngrook, the Kiribati dance, the art of pickling, and the importance of home. And we see what it’s like to dress up in Myanmar, live in Cuernavaca, make ceramics from different soil, and walk the streets of Florence.
In Issue No. 2 we meet New York-based Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, NASA astronaut Stephanie Wilson, and Croatian painter Stipe Nobilo. We discover how the French protect their language and the way women—all around the world—have used textiles as their political voice. We listen to lovers rock, prepare a boisterous Korean barbecue, venture to go to Feria de Jerez and eat our way around Hong Kong.
In Issue No. 4 we meet Nigerian-born artist Toyin Ojih Odutola, Indigenous Australian Elders Uncle Bob Smith and Aunty Caroline Bradshaw, and Palestinian-American chef and artist Amanny Ahmad. We peer inside the Parisian ateliers Lesage and Lemarié, muse over the iconic lines of European chair design and celebrate the colourful woodblock prints of Japanese artist Awazu Kiyoshi. And we venture along Morocco’s Honey Highway, get lost in the markets of Oaxaca and discover the favours of Ghana.
In Issue No. 5 we travel to the mountains with Etel Adnan, along coastlines wherever waves roll in, and then all over the world through the photographic archive of Lindsay James Stanger. We celebrate hair braiding in South Africa, Salasacan weaving techniques in Ecuador, Vedic jewellery traditions and the new sound of Ukraine. We meet artist Cassi Namoda, choreographer Yang Liping and lace-maker Mark Klauber. And we visit a bakery in Tel Aviv, discover the joys of making arak, and spend a summer stretching mozzarella in Italy.