TRANSEÚNTES, an underwater gallery in Cuba
BY ROXANA CONSUEGRA / PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ARTIST
On the southern coast of the western province of Matanzas is the Ciénaga de Zapata, considered the largest wetland in Cuba and the insular Caribbean and declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. About 11 kilometers from Playa Girón, one of the most significant beaches of the Ciénaga coastline, one finds the Punta Perdiz International Diving Center.
The underwater Galería Transeúntes was founded here by its artist and director Sándor González Vilar in December 2014. Some years earlier he came across the place when he went diving for the first time with his Mexican friend Emilio Solorzano Lescale (El Güey). Touched by the beauty of the surroundings and motivated to extend artistic creation to unimaginable places, they created, together with other colleagues, this atypical gallery which today is dedicated especially to the memory of El Güey.
Thanks to the characteristics of the marine relief of this area, the new version of cultural tourism in Cuba, associated with the natural environment, could become a reality. It aims to promote the beauty of the region’s landscape from the artistic angle.
A complex formed by three art galleries has been laid out on land and under the sea by González Vilar. Inside an old building from the 19th century, canvases are exhibited which were painted on the sea bed for a period of sometimes over 90 minutes. There are also photographs and videos that record the process of making the pieces.
100 meters from the shore and six meters deep, is the “studio-workshop” where the paintings are made, in oil, on an easel fixed to the bottom of the sea. 200 meters further, with a depth that ranges between 12 and 16 meters, is the other exhibition hall, where 11 ceramics by artist Lázaro Valdés Pérez (Matacochino) are on permanent exhibition, created and painted on land in his workshop in Calabazar, in the Boyeros district of Havana.
With this attraction, nature and art lovers can enjoy water sports such as diving, while enjoying an exhibition unique of its kind in Cuba. A great variety of corals, gorgonians, sponges and schools of multicolored tropical fish live in harmony with the visual artworks located there, and also with the public that visit to contemplate them.
Other activities have been specially designed for the underwater gallery in order to offer an unforgettable experience. In this way, the first underwater wedding in Cuba was organized there in 2015, a wedding surrounded by art and nature.
CONTACTSándor González Vilar+53 5264 7378