Art & Archives, Exhibitions and Installations

¡Sí Cuba! SoCal

Cuba on film: still from <em>I Am Cuba</em>

Cuba on film: still from I Am Cuba, screening at the Getty Center on June 11

What is “¡Sí Cuba! SoCal,” you ask? Well, it all started in New York this spring with a multi-venue festival celebrating Cuban culture, called ¡Sí Cuba!.

Then, coincidentally, several cultural institutions across Southern California, including we here at the Getty, realized we were all planning events about Cuba, too.  Since the events in Southern California begin at almost the same time the events in New York end (with just about a month’s overlap this May), we  decided to continue the celebration through the summer and give it a local name—and so ¡Sí Cuba! SoCal was born.

The festival, carried on to the West Coast, offers you lots of fun ways to explore the island nation through art, dance, film, music, and discussion. Besides the Getty, participants include the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, SPARC, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and the Music Center in Los Angeles.

¡Sí Cuba! SoCal includes three exhibitions—featuring amazing hand-silkscreened film posters, political cartoons, and photographs documenting Cuba’s history; plus performances by the Ballet Nacionel de Cuba in Costa Mesa and L.A.; a film series with filmmaker Q&As; and a concert by the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club® at the Hollywood Bowl.

Here at the Getty, we’re offering A Revolutionary Project: Cuba from Walker Evans to Now (through October 2), which looks at three periods in the nation’s history as witnessed by photographers before, during, and after the 1959 Revolution.

Sol and Cuba, Old Havana / Alex Harris

Sol and Cuba, Old Havana, Looking North from Alberto Roja's 1951 Plymouth, Havana, Alex Harris, negative, May 23, 1998; print, December 2007. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Gift of Michael and Jane Wilson, Wilson Centre for Photography. © Alex Harris

Plus, we’re putting on a free, four-film series on June 11 and 12, which examines both the beauty of Cuba and its people and the brutality of its political past. Included are four classics of direction and cinematography: Our Man in Havana (1960) directed by Carol Reed, I Am Cuba (1964) directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, Memories of Underdevelopment (1938) directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, and Lucia (1969) directed by Humberto Solas.

Cuba is in the air this summer! To learn more about what’s on, check out the event listings on

Si Cuba SoCal

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  1. Allan Garner
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I live in Vancouver, Canada. I visited Cuba three times in 2005 and enjoyed my time there very much. I’ve often thought of going back to do a documentary on Cuban culture. I have some specific concepts that I would like to explore. Also I have a great contact at the Cuban Ministerio de Cultura that I have kept in contact with over the years.

    Being Canadian my colleagues and I have easy access getting in and out of Cuba with no problems with immigration for filming in High Definition. If anyone who reads this is interested please feel free to contact me at the above email.

    I look forward to hearing from you, Allan Garner – Vancouver, Canada

  2. clari
    Posted September 30, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I am interested. Please contact me.

    • Allan Garner
      Posted August 22, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Hi Clari…this fell through the cracks as I posted a comment regarding Cuba about two years ago. Can you tell me more about your interests in Cuba. I still have the great contacts with the Ministerio de Cultura and am currently developing another television concept with them.

  3. lynn
    Posted October 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been to cuba 6 times and want to go again, but would love to go with someone that has the time the first week in january.

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      A Brief History of the Fleur-de-lis in Art

      The fleur-de-lis, a familiar symbol with varied meanings and a rather obscure origin.

      If you read the labels of objects in museums bearing the fleur-de-lis (in French, fleur de lys, pronounced with the final “s”), you might notice that they were all made in France before the French Revolution of 1789. 

      What’s less apparent is that the fleur-de-lis marks objects that bear witness to a dramatic history of monarchy, democracy, and war: they speak to the inherent power of trappings commissioned for and by France’s pre-revolutionary kings.

      Adopted as a royal emblem in France by the 1100s, the fleur-de-lis can be traced to early Frankish monarchs including Clovis I, who converted to Christianity in 496, and the renowned Charlemagne. 

      A French word, fleur-de-lis translates literally to “lily flower.” This is appropriate given the association of lilies with purity (and the Virgin Mary) and given that France has long been known as the “Eldest Daughter of the Church.” In truth, the stylized flower most closely resembles a yellow iris. 

      As a heraldic symbol used in the arms of the French monarchy, the fleur-de-lis often appears in yellow or gold tones and set on a blue shield. 

      Given its intimate royal associations, the fleur-de-lis invoked the ire of revolutionaries even before the fall of the monarchy in 1792. In addition to toppling royal statues, vandals chipped away at crowns and fleurs-de-lis adorning the façades of buildings.

      Full blog post on the Getty Iris here.


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