Orlando con su vino (Orlando With His Wine)

Orlando con su vino (Orlando With His Wine)

Cuba Series - Painting #11
July 2016
Acrylic on canvas - 36" x 48"

My grandmother had 10 siblings. 9 Sisters and 1 brother. Through their offspring my mother collected 52 first cousins, one of them being this gentlemen - Orlando. 

Orlando lives in the city of Santa Clara, Cuba's third largest city. He has a modest home that he built himself over the past 40 years. He detailed to me how the house started out as a small hut, but he dedicated himself to making improvements little by little and expanding it into the comfortable house it is today. He even has a work shop in the back where he tinkers with machinery and earns extra money fixing stuff for his neighbors. 

In this portrait he is showing off his homemade wine. It was a light and sweet muscatel that he tries to make every year for Christmas and New Years celebrations. Not incredibly strong in alcohol content but it'll do the job if necessary. I was so impressed with his resourcefulness and his ability to make due with the very little that life affords to the Cuban people.

I went to Cuba with only faint knowledge of these distant cousins I had living there, but upon meeting Orlando and his family for the first time it was like I had known them my whole life. I was accepted into their home as if it were my own. They cooked me a giant meal and told me old stories about the family. I showed him photos of my mom and our home in Brooklyn. It was everything a meeting of estranged family should be.
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