Callejón de Hamel, a relevant cultural site
PHOTOS: PRENSA LATINA, Y JULIO LARRAMENDI
Three decades after its creation, the Callejón de Hamel represents a prominent space within the Havana culture, as here one can find painting, dance and music that are part of the Cuban identity.
This place, which has become a symbol for those who practice the Afro-Cuban religion, is now an almost obligatory stop for tourists visiting the Cuban capital because, more than just a small street, it is a cultural stage where, as well as playing host to a permanent exhibition of paintings with colorful murals that adorn the houses, musical shows and festivals are presented, in which the area’s residents participate.
The name “Hamel” refers to Fernando Belleau Hamel, an American of Franco-German origin, who bought some land in the Cayo Hueso neighborhood at the beginning of the last century. There, he organized a raw material and foundry business that served to employ blacks and Chinese and even built houses for them.
At the beginning of the 90s, the painter, sculptor and muralist Salvador González Escalona created the first mural dedicated to Afro-Cuban culture, which started this project, with the aim of offering creative art to the people and revitalizing a street that had been forgotten by time.