Follow your dreams and live by your passion.

WHY AM I DOING THIS? Why am I trying to support an Artist in Cuba? Random, right? It’s just how I am, If I see something that I like I want to share it and if I see an opportunity to help someone I take it.

I think Augustins work will appeal in our culture, it’s very cool it’s political, it’s post castro, its relevant and beautifully executed. 

My aim is to raise awareness of Augustins work out side of Cuba so he can be showing his work all over the world. 

There really is very little chance of his work being seen out side of Cuba and for all Cubans are generally looked after they by their government, they lack opportunity for private enterprise and cash. They have a government  income of $25 per month and that dent go far.Most Cubans will never be able to afford any thing like a car, most will struggle to buy new shoes.

I was drawn to Augustins work at an collectors fair by the port in Havana. I posted his and other artists work on my FB page and offered to buy them for friends back home. Whist on that previous trip I met Augustin and he showed me his catalogue of work. Without tourists going to Cuba, post Trump travel restrictions for Americans and now Coronavirus sales have gone from down to non existent. 

It would bring me enormous pleasure not just to send cash which I know will have a real and positive impact of Augustins life and for his family but also I think people here will enjoy his art and start a conversations about social injustice and inequality. 

This is a non profit venture 80% of each sale goes direct to Augustin and 20% goes towards shipping and postage and packaging.

Art tells a story and informs us of our world. Augustins work goes beyond Cuban charm, it’s not music and dance and old cars. It tells a real story of what we take with ease and enjoy for fun has a dark side, one of corruption and power, that those who are rich can do what they like.

We think that big corporations have power, they do, they are rich. But they are one rich because we buy their products. This artist is asking us what a sweet drink does for our world

Adds life, creates and illusion of fun loving and living, we take it and enjoy it. We all know that this drink is bad for us, but we still buy it, but do we know what they do with their profits. 

I invite you to look beyond the brand, beyond the glossy adverts, beyond the smile, the song and the hand holding. Look at the art and then do a google search. You can form your own opinion and you can share this with others.

Owning this art means that you care about socialism. Sadly Cuba though supports artists offers limited freedom for them. Also the artists have very little resources therefore by owning this art you have provided 4 months income to the artis and his family. By owning this art you are taking courage to talk about difficult subjects,

I give my time freely for this part of my business and I fund my travel myself. It is my love of travel that brings me in contact wit the most interesting people. My entrapenurial spirit sees opportunity everywhere, helping others is easy for me. It is my aim through my work and creativity to take people to inspire and motivate people to live their best life possible. This business is a by product of my own lifestyle choices, to live how I love to be, in inspiring company with people all over the world.

I find ethical ways to off set my flights and take every opportunity to be sensitive to environmental choice in my everyday life. 

On my last trip to Havana, in November 2019 Augustin took me a new private gallery,

They were preparation a state of for opening and it was exciting meet the business owners and view their collection of art by Cuban Artist, an un taped market waiting to be explored. The gallery represent Augustin and you can read more about him and see more of his work here.

The gallery represents change in Cuba, galleries of this stature are not normal and this one has positioned itself across the road from the national gallery of Cuban Art. This is the like a Bond street gallery in London. Except Havana has no equivalent of Bond street, so this is an interesting time that I am observing on my trips to Cuba. Despite the challenges that they face there is growth and diversity taking place. This is also seen in a lot of new restaurants which have a more european feel and not at all authentic Cuban. Is this wrong? People often comment on the changes taking place, and that Cuban will loose its authenticity. I doubt that very much and voice what A cuban said to me, is why can they not have choice, why can they not have the experience of different food, in the same way that I remember when new trends and styles come into our society. 

Change is everywhere, our past, present and future are a tapestry of life, interwoven threads of experience, rich in love and compassion for others. Our relationship with each other and the rest of the world hold potential for sustainable and shared richness in the joy of being part of our whole world. I invite you to engage, support and share.

One Woman, One City, One Month

It’s about time.

Here I am in Havana, Cuba in February, a very welcome change to the weather at home in the UK and I am experiencing total gratitude for gifting myself with this time. “Thanks to yourself” I hear you ask. well yes, it me, my idea, my vision, my dream whatever you want to call it but I would say YES to gifting myself with time. In our world time is a currency, we either have it in abundance or not enough of it, time is measured and it is billed, it has a value that more often than not we do not connect to. We are aware of money and how long it takes us to make it without giving much thought to how long it takes to spend it. So what I am saying is this is a gift to me from an investment of time and money earned over my working life to  invest in my dreams of a reality that I now want to live, experience and enjoy.

My first choice is Havana, and for me right now it was a right one to make.

Before coming here I had heard several opinions from people who don’t really know me about their experiences in Havana. I was shocked by their reactions, what I got was a projection of their experience which with some different levels of extreme was what I would call a toxic dump. Urm, I have never being one to knowingly put out someone elses fire but one persons reaction was visceral, they even used the word anger that I was staying in Havana for a month without seeing the beauty of the whole of cuba.

Hey ho, another persons visions of a dream is someone elses vision of hell, ce la vie.

I live in London, and am busy most of the time, there are things that have to be done and things that I like to do and things that must be done. Time is pretty much taken up with doing. To be honest I like doing and will be doing in Havana, in fact I am doing a lot here and I love it. The difference is ‘doing’ on my terms which by other people standards is that for me it will be a month to do what some people will do in 1 week or 4 days or less.

Which brings me back to time, in London,  conversations have been reduced to text, not so much of the spoken word and text is now being replaced by imogis. All this smart phone technology and we are reduced to experiencing ourselves through a sticker designed by someone else. Oh Wow, evaluation……

Holiday time, by this I mean time at home, Christmas or whatever family time we might have. It’s a big deal because its one of the few times that everyone makes an effort to get together and talk to each other face to face, over meals that they make togther and maybe exchange a well-considered gift.

So here I am in Havana with a gift of time and what I am to do, or now after a week into my trip, what I am doing.

Well first question should really be hows it going? And I will say it is going good, thanks.

Any anxiety that I might have absorbed from others negativity was soon diminished by my own reality in feeling happy to be here. It is everything that I hoped and expected. I am comfortable and capable and time is my friend.

I am lost in wonder by the scale of urban decay, I am immersed in the layers of past revealing itself though worn out shades of colour, broken tiles, sun damage, sea damage and war damage. Buildings without roofs, people living in derelict buildings that chime with noise and vibrate with industrial labour. Peeping through the gaps in doors there are the picture post card images of what we know to be relative poverty compared to western standards, (why that is a photo opportunity I don’t know, I guess it’s a glimpse of a life been lived) old style shabby chic. Yes there are men sitting in shorts on PVC sofas eating food. Its grimy, choked up with exhaust fumes from the old cars, there is no sense of heath and safely. Behind doors I see what is left of a stair case, I see people restoring furniture, I see small factories with people at sewing machines, I see the interiors of homes with so little physical substance, I see an upholsterer at work and restoration on the scale of what looks like something from the italian renascence.

I also see colour and feel the vibrancy of the people and the sunshine bouncing off the buildings, there is music and dancing everywhere.

I see progress, it’s on a collective scale, everyone is in this together, there is something for everyone. As the historical restoration replaces what has been, and still is a demolished city, it is a city is in transition, whilst been true to its identity and community this is a time of change. The romance and the old style charm is not just been replaced but enhanced, drawn out from the rubble that has held its memories, nothing has but everything is changing.

Oh for the gift of time, to immerse myself in this vision, lost in the decorative beauty, the long conversations and laughing with exchanges in a different language, taking time to try, to be vulnerable to understand myself better through experience. taking time for change.