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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

This article details the work of dissenting artists in Post-Fidel Havana and their use of public and private spaces. It draws on ethnographic fieldwork from 2018 and 2019 in interviews with different artists who have experienced government censorship because of their public displays of art critical to the regime. In 2017, the Cuban street artist Yulier P. Rodriguez was thrown in jail and forced to sign a document saying he would never paint on the street walls again. Soon after, the government began covering up his anti-Castro murals at night. Yulier once had over 200 paintings on the walls of Havana, and now, less than 20 exist. This article looks at how street artists like Yulier use public visual art to protest the communist regime. Through methods of ethnographic research — participant observation, visual analyses and oral interviews — I examine how these artists persevere despite being under constant government surveillance. This article particularly looks at how these artists circumvent official rule and the differences in artistic censorship within private and public spheres in Cuba.

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