Repeating Islands

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Julie Miller writes about Havana’s Art Festival in this article for Australia’s news.com.au.

THERE’S a ruckus on the corner near Havana’s Parque Central.

Curious onlookers line the footpath, children clambering on to walls for a tippy-toe view; while a lone motorcycle policeman rides up and down the deserted Prado in uniformed officiousness, siren blaring.

We see placards, hear chanting then drums, the hypnotic Afro-Cuban beat so essential in Cuba’s soundscape. Suddenly we’re engulfed in a parade, a bipedal flotilla of fantasy creatures adorned in body paint, whirling and gyrating to the timbal pulse. Some wear masks, blue and ochre phalluses covered in dots; while centre-stage is a Christ-like figure, struggling under the weight of a crossbar.

It’s then we notice the various stages of nudity; bare chests and buttocks, g-strings and loincloths offering scant protection. Two masked entities approach a young mother cradling a newborn, running their hands over the…

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