Travel Tribe – Soul Food

I once told a magazine writer I’m certain I was born with the DNA of a gypsy. For my 8th grade graduation, I coveted a small leather suitcase – at that age I never went further than my best friend’s house 4 blocks away or maybe to my grandparent’s home that was only 15 miles away. My parents surprised me with a hard-sided, stitched blue suitcase, lined in silky pale blue satin; a small lock and a gold key on a narrow blue ribbon guaranteed the safety of my valuables! I treasured it for my overnight getaways.Journal and postcardsHigh school graduation yielded a trifecta prezzie: a full set of luggage, including a ladies leather travel cosmetic case. I didn’t have an itinerary, in my heart, I knew adventure lay beyond the very small town of Ojai where I spent my childhood.

The Avant-Garde artist and potter Beatrice Wood lived in Ojai; as a young girl, I was mesmerized by her stacks of shimmering wrist bangles, enormous ethnic silver necklaces and riotously decorated costumes –a mysterious bohemian gypsy – she truly represented uncharted territory – a different realm, somewhere far from the little burb of Ojai. Had I known she had spent time with Duchamp and lived in Paris, I might have worked up a petite bit of pluck and uttered a few words to her; but sometimes mystery is better than reality, don’t you sometimes find that to be true about people you meet?MOMA MANTravel creates a teaching environment, we learn, we are challenged; I find travel the absolute essential antidote to everyday routines. When I pack my suitcase, I am usually completely pre-occupied with all the tasks that must be accomplished before I can escape.The  ever-growing list of must do prior to departure creates some stress; slowly each item is crossed off. Lock the gates and off to the airport. On arrival at the airport lounge, I let out a sigh of relief and let the pure sense of excitement wash over me.

My comfortable routines are banished and the anticipation of a new far off destination begins to sink in. Fresh vistas, foreign languages, interesting foods, curious customs, and people in indigenous dress – seeing places I’ve never seen before. A pleasing adventure of searching new locales for client travel, the pursuit never gets old.New Mexico enroute to taosThere are times certainly that the luxury of my soft little pillow is missed, the paradox of travel – the comfy reminders of home – while enjoying the adventure at hand. Certainly the brave seafaring explorers in tall masted ships, civilizations crossing boundless lands and seas to explore new countryside felt the tug of home. The spark of curiosity about uncharted territory overruled the dilemma experienced by all civilizations that left their comfort zones to search the world.

Travel means edging out of your habitat, traversing new pathways, being alive in an unknown place, a Journey. Mexico City Blue House“To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.” ~Charles Horton CooleyIstanbulFeed Your Soul…Where and When is Your Next Journey?

Cuba Collectible Artists – Eduardo M. Abela Torras

There are many artists who are able to leave Cuba to share their work in the U.S., as a short-term guest, showing their work in small galleries. Eduardo M. Abela Torras who lives in Havana, has managed to leave his country for art exhibits. Abela was destined to become an artist. Both his father, J. Eduardo Abela Alonso, and grandfather, Eduardo Abela, are accomplished painters whose works are also represented in “Cuba on My Mind.”

Abela has exhibited extensively in Cuba, but has also participated in group and solo shows in Spain, Italy, Puerto Rico, Panama, Sante Fe, Chicago and various locations in Florida. His paintings offer a witty, often comedic view of Cuban history and social events.

eduardo m abela torrasFROM Cuba On My Mind:

“The thriving Cuban art scene is claiming a rich, complex legacy with artists on and off the island. This was on display at a recent collaborative exhibition at the Von Liebig Art Center in Naples, Florida. Cuba on My Mind was a show that included paintings, photography and mixed media by various Cuban artists both on and off the island. Five artists from Havana and five artists from South Florida were featured. Bringing together different generations, Cuba on My Mind included the work of Eduardo Abela, Eduardo Miguel Abela Torras, Humberto Castro, Jose Andres Matos Alonso, Cirenaica Moreira and others.

One of the unrivaled talents from the island is Eduardo Miguel Abela Torras, the grandson and namesake of distinguished Cuban artist and cartoonist Eduardo Abela, a contemporary of Wilfredo Lam’s. Currently living in Havana, Abela offers the viewer a witty and often comic approach of Cuba’s history and current events. As a figurative artist, Abela merges culture, narrative and subject together to put forth his perspective. He says he does not follow the tendencies of contemporary art, but that is merely because he is “motivated by a more classical aesthetic and enjoys the great movements in art history.”

“In my work, there is always an influence of Byzantine art, religious art and even medieval art,” Abela says. “My intention is to deal with the things that inspire me and that Cubans face—exodus, precariousness, isolation, the perpetual economic crisis, solitude, the division amongst families—with an anachronistic play between irony and absurdity.”

He goes on to explain that the themes of his work come from the most personal and introspective parts of him, leaving behind tendencies, styles, and opinions on art. One example of this is Infanta & Malecón. In this piece, Abela appropriates two figures from the painting La Meninas by Diego Velázquez and contrasts them with Havana’s famous seaside boulevard, the Malecón. Spain’s Princess Margarita Teresa, known throughout history as “La Infanta” rides atop a boat Abela has painted to look like the Malecón’s breakwater.”ABELAAbelaAbela in his studio