An artist in Caibarien

At a first glance, the sleepy town off the grid in Villa Clara – Caibarién – a former thriving port, seemed at strife with its past glory. But as we reached its shimmering coasts off the Malecón, children started flocking and music started playing, disturbing the silence with giggles and games.

As the bus pulled in front of a popping turquoise, Neo-Californian house from 1953, all prior presumptions had gone. Two murals, one on each side, graced the entrance to the merry house. Pillars, standing erect in the garden, were each painted with Cuban motifs in a gay, whimsical display. 

This was Galleria Casa Taller, which as the name suggested, was a house converted in a gallery, workshop and classroom. The home-studio of the artist Madelin Perez Noa was visibly a canvas of creation, not only for her, but equally so for Caibarien’s artistic community.

Here, in the tranquility of the day or night, she is always painting.

A lyrical surrealist artist from Caibarien, she specializes in colorful paintings, textile art, murals and illustrations.

Although she paints by day, she was inspired by a French poet’s poem, as shown to her by Jose Fuster, to paint the night - to pursue the contrasts between the blues and yellows, to show the poetry within the night. 

Her favorite paintings are Noche Feminina (Feminine Night) and Noche Interogativa (Questioning Night).

“They show the night as a lover, as a companion that takes you into her arms and into that world of dreams, of fairies and princesses, of girls with long hair and sunflowers,” said the artist.

Throughout the house and gallery, bright, vivid paintings can be seen, as well as a variety of painted t-shirts, handbags, and recycled paper notebooks.

It is here that she gave life to Por la Costa community project, an initiative supported by UNEAC (the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba) involving the entire community to promote the arts, through recycling items that are washed up on the town’s shores and a festival showcasing all its arts. The goal was simple; to keep the coast clean and to grow culturally, as Caibarien continues to mark its place on the tourist trail in Cuba.

Part of the project is to teach the visual arts to children within her community, which she pursues every Saturday in her home-studio.

These days, Madelin can be found in the United States on a cultural visa, lasting for two years.

In a summer exhibit called Asi es la Noche (This is how the night is) in Miami’s Futurama Gallery, Madelin was invited to present her favorite pieces.

Next was the unveiling of two murals this past October at the Bloomington Convention Center in Bloomington, Indiana, where she also held workshops at the University in town.

“In these two years in the United States, I want to expand the reach of my art. My goal and objectives are for people to know that it’s through my work that I spread peace, love and happiness to them, through the traits and colors of my characters on canvas. Hope is the world that I live in.

Like the great Cuban poet Alipio Alonso said, I am the eternal girl with the brush.”


Bio: Madelin Perez Noa, a lyrical surrealist artist from Caibarien, Cuba, specializing in colorful paintings, textile art, murals and illustrations. Madelin’s paintings have been exhibited in Cuba (Havana, Holguin, Santa Clara, Caibarien), the US (Los Angeles,, Miami) and Canada (Ottawa). She has also illustrated several books of poetry, as well as children’s books. In addition to winning several important awards in Cuba, she also founded her own community project, Por La Costa that involves the entire community in an effort to promote the arts. Her passion is not only creating whimsical fairytale stories in her paintings, but also teaching the visual arts to children within her community. For questions or to order any of her paintings, she can be contacted via her Artist NOA Facebook page.

For a visit to Galleria Casa Taller in Caibarien, and a chance to meet Madelin, join us on Vintage Cuba.


Text by Monica Suma. You can follow her on Twitter at @MonicaSuma.
Photos by Monica Suma and Madelin Perez NOA