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Graphic Artist Ben Eine at Casa Havana pop-up in London

August 9, 2016

ArtsPainting | by Harry Seymour


A two-week long Cuban-themed pop up is about to take residency in Soho, organised by the classic Cuban rum creators, Havana Club, which will explore the highlights of Cuban culture through the three godly pillars of food, music and colour. It’s a little known fact that Havana Club is the only Cuban rum part-owned by the government. It embodies the Cuban rum making heritage, while supporting contemporary generations of Cuban creatives.

Casa Havana artwork, Bein Eine
Casa Havana artwork, Bein Eine

Taking over a Soho townhouse, the Casa Havana has been decorated by the renowned street artist Ben Eine who has recently returned from a research trip to the Cuban capital. Whilst in Havana, Eine met with local artists to tour their studios, see their work and gain an insight in to the practices, as well as studying the local vibrant imagery everywhere, from film posters to graphic adverts. The bold and vibrant colours he found, reflect a powerful celebratory relationship the locals have with their art in Cuba. The images are distinct in their tropicallity – the pigments adopted match the tangy and fresh elements of their cuisine, and reflect the hot and fiery tempo of their beats. Like their cars and their clothes, their imagery is timeless. Painted images are rustic and worn, but reflective of a society where everything is hand made, and made to last. Eine has fused these elements with his own playful style of mixing bold graphics and bright colours in poster-style art to create a series of punching new pieces. Upon returning to his London studio, Eine created a series of bespoke works fusing these Cuban flavours in collaboration with several Cuban artists brought over to the UK by Havana Club. Fairground style lettering hints at a party, while the colours suggest something quirky. The paintings will be exhibited at Casa Havana for the duration of the pop up, after which they will be auctioned for charity.

Artists studio in Havana, on Casa Havane research trip with Ben Eine
Artists studio in Havana, on Casa Havane research trip with Ben Eine

“Havana was everything I expected, and more. The city is alive with colour and energy, and there are some insanely talented artists showcasing their art publicly. It’s going to be amazing to bring a little of that to everyone back in London.” Eine said.

Casa Havana artwork by Ben Eine
Casa Havana artwork by Ben Eine

The Casa Havana experience transports you from bustling Soho in to a traditional Cuban Paladar down a Havana backstreet – alongside Eine’s visually arresting images, guests at Casa Havana can dine on a five-course meal of traditional Cuban delicacies, curated by Street Feast found Dom Cools-Fatigue – each course is also accompanied by a Havana Club rum cocktail. And to complete the authentic transportative evening, virtual reality headsets are provided allowing guests to explore the Cuban Capital, minus the jet lag.

By James Heard

Casa Havana, 11 – 20 August, 15 Bateman Street, 4pm – midnight. Dinner tickets £20 per person