FusterlandiaFebruary 11, 2020
Cuban artist José Fuster turned the neighborhood of Jaimanitas into his canvas. The resulting body of work is known as Fusterlandia, a magical place seemingly dreamt up from a child’s imagination. Fusterlandia enchants travelers with its masterful designs and rainbow hues. Walking through this wildly mosaicked neighborhood is a vibrant and colorful journey.
Each house boasts its own unique style and personality, just like its residents. Murals and mosaics create landscapes and narratives and the designs become more and more concentrated as you enter the heart of this close-knit fishing community. Multi-colored tiles paint the area, coating bus stops, gates, homes, public squares and office buildings. A textured archway in the heart of this artistic maze signals your arrival to the main attraction in Fusterlandia – the creator’s home, where the magic began.
José Fuster was born in 1946 in Villa Clara, Cuba. He moved to Havana and studied art at The National School of Art Instructors.
His work focused on sculptures, ceramics, and paintings. As his talent grew, he began to display his work in galleries outside of Cuba. While showcasing his art in Europe, Fuster was inspired by artists like Gaudí and Brancusi. As a homage to Gaudí himself and seeking to beautify his beloved community, Fuster’s imagination turned to the creation of his very own Park Güell.
In 1975, upon his return to the island, he began the long process of crystallizing his vision. He first converted his own art studio into an artistic paradise. The project expanded to the rest of his house until it was covered with multi-colored shapes and figures. Fuster then turned to his neighbors, who agreed to let their homes serve as blank canvases for the artist’s inspiration. During this time more than 80 homes in the neighborhood were ornately decorated by Fuster himself.
The heart and soul of Cuba is apparent in Fuster’s work. Palm trees, fish and a diverse array of yellows, blues, and greens illustrate the myriad of beaches along the vast Caribbean coastline. The Cuban people and culture are personified in mosaic murals of domino matches and mythological scenes scattered throughout the area.
Today, the neighborhood is bustling with visitors the likes of Madonna and Katy Perry. Travelers from all over the world flock to see this vibrant community. It has even inspired a new generation of artists, as locals continue to build the whimsical world they grew up in, and welcome cultural exchange with international artists.
For the best view of the area, climb the elaborate steps of Casa de Fuster where a jeweled balcony overlooks the jungle of art. As the sun shines over the glistening wonderland of Fusterlandia, look for Fuster himself, who continues to bring joy to those around him with his welcoming and happy personality and through the fantastical world he created.