La Ciega (The Blind Woman)Cuba Series - Painting #14
Acrylic on canvas - 36" x 48"
Back in the 40's and 50's it was common for even people with middle class incomes to have servants in Cuba. As the story went, everything my family had that they couldn’t carry with them to the States was left with the servants, including my grandfather's paintings.
While walking the streets of Esperanza I was introduced to a blind man who's mother it was believed had worked as a servant back in the day. Confirming this fact, he brought me to her house so I could ask her some questions.
I entered her home and introduced myself. Surprisingly she was also blind. The family apparently suffered from some form of hereditary vision disorder. I told her my story and of my attempt to find the house where my family lived. It felt a bit weird for me to be asking a blind woman if she had any knowledge of a painting, but she entertained my investigation. As she sat in her chair she seemed to be looking back into her memory, perhaps reaching back to a time when her vision was still intact. As she pondered out loud she muttered the names of people and streets, trying to trace a thread from one to another as if searching through a 50-year old memory bank she hadn't opened since her youth.
Ultimately it was determined that she had not worked for my family nor did she know anyone who did. Another dead end in my search, but as with all the townspeople I met on my journey, it had been a fascinating pit stop. She wished me luck and I was off on the hunt again.