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El Gallo

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Oil on Canvas

18″ x 24″

I painted this for my father in July of 2012 and presented it to him in Tuscany where we celebrated his 70th birthday. The rooster is one of those ultra Cuban images that conjure the spirit of the Cuban people. My entire family is obsessed with roosters or “gallos.” The Gallo is a lover and a fighter, a prancer, a singer, a dancer and a bit of a show off. Or so I imagine. I have never been to Cuba – even though I grew up yearning for it, missing a place I have never seen. For me Cuba exists in a nostalgic and magical place where everything was better & brighter. A place tangled in ropa vieja, pastelitos, cafesitos, sayings, songs, poetry and dance. It is laughter to crying like an inhale to an exhale. My Cuba is in my heart and it is perfect. This Gallo was inspired by my father. As the rooster is the keeper and the leader of his flock so is my father the leader of his family. There is a pride in the rooster, a knowing responsibility that he will do what it takes to protect his family. And somewhere between thoughts of my father, the rooster and Cuba I imagined this Gallo with his crest in the shape of the island.