‘The Visionary’: A Tank Dedicated To Fidel Castro / 14ymdio, Juan Carlos Fernandez

'The Visionary', a work of Humberto ‘El Negro’ Hernandez, in collaboration with Arquimedes Lores 'Nelo'.(Juan Carlos Fernandez)
‘The Visionary’, a work of Humberto ‘El Negro’ Hernandez, in collaboration with Arquimedes Lores ‘Nelo’.(Juan Carlos Fernandez)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Carlos Fernandez, Pinar del Rio, 1 December 2015 – Pedestrians walking along Martí Street in the capital of Pinar del Rio were astonished last Wednesday on seeing a crane moving a tank. A work by the artist Humberto El Negro Hernandez, in collaboration with Arquimedes Lores Nelo, weighs several tons and has been baptized The Visionary, in homage to Fidel Castro.

After several months of labor in the bus rebuilding workshops, the installation has been installed in the middle of a public street, to the amazement of some and jeers of others. The piece, which was originally meant to be ready last August 13, the former Cuban president’s birthday, was only finished a few days ago.

The authors readjusted the schedule and decided to inaugurate the installation this 26 November, Pinar del Rio’s Day of Dignity. In the construction and placement of the piece collaborators include the Music Center, the Cuban Writers and Artists Union (UNEAC), the Provincial Department of Culture, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), the Communist Party and the local government, and so El Negro Hernandez declares that “this is not an invention,” with the pride of someone who has done something authorized “from above.”

With regards to the similarity of the piece with a tank, the artist states, “What else is life but a tank?”

“It comes from our commander;s campaign cap,” says El Negro Hernandez, noting that he has been inspired by this object that “sustains a thought that generates peace, dignity and progress.”

Both creators cherish the idea of making a gift of the tank with their artistic intervention to the person honored, but did not explain how they would move the massive piece to Fidel Castro’s residence in Havana.

Children playing. (Juan Carlos Fernandez)
Children playing. (Juan Carlos Fernandez)

Installing of the piece in such a central place has aroused great controversy, which is whispered, without anyone daring to publically express any criticism of the mass of metal. Only Pipo, a sympathetic character who wanders here and there, has dared to say out loud that “in reality, it’s junk, nothing more.”

For now, given its volume, in the wee hoursThe Visionary provides relief for the lack of public toilets.