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A young boy wearing a red t-shirt with a white star covers his eyes, which are pointed to the sky and he has wings coming out of his back. What is he looking at? Where will the wings take him? Will they continue to grow, the boy and his wings? A few steps from the boy a girl appears, entwined in her brown curly hair are a Spanish galleon in one hand and a sloop in another. Next to each vessel is a giant fish. The girl smiles as her eyes glance upwards at her hair. She looks so real I can her laugh. A few more steps and there’s another boy sitting, and looks to be pondering something, his hand touching his head, on which sits a giant apple. The apple is painted with a Cuban flag.

While I gaze at these paintings I can’t help but wonder what these children are thinking about? What is in their limitless imagination? I find them seductive. They are like a mental alarm that reminds me of who we are, or of who we should be. They all have exclamation points on their sides. Who puts exclamation points on their paintings?

Maikel Herrera, who was born in the Cuban province of Camaguey, is the artist responsible for these works of art. All his paintings include the portrait of a child, and they are all fanciful. His work reminds me of Leopoldo Romañach, Joaquin Sorola and Jackson Pollock. Copies of his works are everywhere in Cuba, from the walls of hospitals and government offices to private homes and restaurants.

Here in Cuba Maikel lost his name about ten years ago, when he became “the children’s painter.”

By Dina GomGar

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