Cuban artist turns Havana’s neon lights back on
The glowing neon italic letters fill the building’s colonial facade with an art-deco accent between the doors below and the wraparound balcony above. It is the work of Cuban artist Kadir Lopez Nieves, who is restoring the vintage signs of the cinemas, hotels and cabarets that lit up Havana’s nightlife in its 1950s heyday.
His project, dubbed “Habana Light Neon + Signs,” has so far restored around 50 signs, reflecting a broader revival in Havana. The city, one of the architectural jewels of Latin America, has been enjoying a tourism boom.
“They called it the Broadway or Paris of the Caribbean because it had so much light and brilliance,” said Lopez Nieves, during an interview in his workshop and gallery. “But when I started out the project… Havana was switched off in terms of light.”