“Reggaeton-free area” reads the welcome sign at Poco Bonito, an art gallery located in the historic center of the Cuban city of Cienfuegos. As you enter through the doorway, the bright, tropical colors jump out at you. Even more stunning however is the variety of topics addressed in the works on display for sale. Here, in the middle of the new tourist trail, this alternative space intends to be an island of powerful art in a sea of souvenir shops.
With hip-hop beats playing in the background, we chat with Carlos Infante, one of the main movers and shakers on the art scene and co-curator at the gallery. With thin, brownish dreadlocks, a piercing gaze and a wide smile, Carlos pulls up some chairs and waits for us to begin the interview.
His involvement with art started in 2013 when a friend invited him to collaborate with an art co-op, where he worked for a year and a half. After several months of working in the field, his own artistic interests were stirred, and in 2015, the idea of starting a gallery that would allow him and several like-minded artists to develop independent projects became a reality. Soon afterwards, the artists Alberto Veloz, Carlitos Herón, Amet Laza, Osmany Caro, Miguel A. Albuerne, Mumito, Roly and Pepe also joined the project.
“We didn’t come up with the name Poco Bonito ourselves” says Carlos. “The credit belongs to rapper Etián Brebaje Man from Havana. It’s this humorous trait which characterizes Poco Bonito, and that is what we want to do here: uncommon art of unconventional beauty, ‘not quite pretty’ in regard to pure aesthetic and traditional perspectives. Beauty is not important; it’s about the artist creating artistically and sharing a message.”