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Cuban-American Piñatas

Elizabeth Mesa-Gaido's avatar Elizabeth Mesa-Gaido

In the early 1960s, my parents migrated to the U.S. from Cuba as political exiles, and in 2011, I traveled to Cuba for the first time with my family to visit Havana. Cuban-American Piñatas is a response to witnessing a sea of commodities, medicines & food being carried into Cuba in suitcases by U.S. visitors to assist those who have no access to necessary items. Instead of candy, a mound of personal commodities like toothpaste, razors and socks lies on the ground amongst multiple suspended suitcases. The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy estimates $2.5 billion in goods, pharmaceuticals, and food items brought into Cuba annually, & the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean estimates foreign remittances (money sent to Cuba by émigrés) at more than $2 billion a year. The installation draws attention to the unfavorable conditions in Cuba as well as the economic failings of the government, with expatriates trying to bridge the disparity gap.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 3-D
  • Depth: varies on site (approx. 15')
  • Medium: Cardboard, papier-mâché, hand-cut and adhered rows of tissue paper, ribbons, glue, and purchased commodities
  • Width: varies on site (approx. 20')
  • Year created: 2012
  • Height: 15'