Havana on Her Canvas
By Heidy González Cabrera Photos: Courtesy Ileana Mulet
It is easy to recognize a painting by Ileana Mulet. She brings a sense of mischief to the vibrant Chagall-like tipsy urban landscapes, dropping hints inviting you to search for messages hidden in surprising shapes; she calls it the game of her creation.
Old Havana, a favorite subject of Mulet's, is mystified, romanticized and exalted with a preponderance of round arches and gray stone walls, sometimes lit from the zenith, other times providing shadows enveloping the small beings (Women? Men? or perhaps real or imaginary fauna) beneath the attack towers or balustrades of fantastic legends.
In all the facets of her personality: myth maker, artist, writer, friend, mother; Ileana, in life as in her art, is a perfectionist.
She has not forgotten the eastern province of Holguin where she was born and where, early, she imposed her art. Restless, confident and determined, she went to the San Alejandro Fine Arts School and graduated in interior design with a specialty in tourism. She designed costumes for television and scenery for theater.
She grows in her art, receptive toward contemporary viewpoints and dissimilar tendencies, nourishing herself from exchanges and experiences everywhere that her art has traveled. Mulet exchanges, but is not influenced. She is firm in her style and in her mission of painting the old city.
Slowing her pace is not within her. Without resting her brushes Ileana has burst violently into poetry ... using words and thoughts to make more magic.
There she is, a slight figure amid a crowded exhibit hall, surrounded by new and faithful friends, smiling and bestowing her attention on all. She has reached a summit of fame as a Cuban and Latin American artist, but those who really know Mulet, her sensitivity and unmanageable determination, know that she will set and reach other goals. All without putting down the brushes, painting convents, towers and alleys of the aging city that with her, is reborn.