March 18, 2011
WBUR Public Radio Joins Galeria Cubana in Havana

BOSTON — Bringing Cuban artists to the U.S. was unthinkable a few years ago. But restrictions on cultural exchanges between the long-conflicted countries have eased over the past year or so. Now a Boston gallery that deals exclusively in Cuban art is hosting one painter’s first trip to America. When I dropped by La Galeria Cubana in Boston’s South End, Luis Rodriguez Noa — 40 years old, bright eyes, hair pulled into a pony tail — crouched down to staple an unfurled canvas against a wooden frame. It’s one of 30 paintings he had to roll up, store in tubes, and transport himself on his flight to Boston. Shipping between Cuba and the U.S. is prohibited, and Rodriguez Noa admitted carrying that precious cargo stressed him out. “I was worried all the time, all the time about the airplanes,” he said, “and how they handle it, and if they’d arrive on time or if I would lose my luggage.” Rodriguez Noa’s relieved to finally be here, installing a vibrant piece called “Shortcut to Prosperity” with the help of gallery associate Carlos Escobar.

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