Orlando con su vino (Orlando With His Wine)Cuba Series - Painting #11
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 fifth largest city. He has a home that he built himself over the past 40 years. He detailed to me how the house started out as a small shack, but he dedicated himself to making improvements little by little and expanding it into the modest but comfortable house it is today. He even has a workshop in the back where he tinkers with machinery and earns extra money fixing stuff for his neighbors.
In this portrait Orlando is showing off his homemade wine. It was a light and sweet muscatel that he makes every year for Christmas and New Years celebrations. It's not incredibly strong, but it does the job. It's just another example of the resourcefulness he has displayed his whole life - making due with the little that life has afforded him.
I went to Cuba with only faint knowledge of the 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.