Palo Monte, an Afro-Cuban cult
In the street there is a Palo Monte altar (or nganga) where believers leave their offerings. This Afro-Cuban religion, which is often confused with African religion, is ,above all, formed on the worship of nature and a relationship with ancestors through rituals.
If you meet Salvador and you ask him about the mural, he’ll talk to you about “a mixture of surrealism, cubism and abstract art” but above all, he’ll talk about black culture, community, African religion and “destiny’s desire to put it inside me, in my hands, in my art”. He even talks about a magical experience and confesses that “while I was painting the mural I grew stubble for the first time, at 40 years of age”.
Hamel is a temple for Afro-Cuban culture, that displays it culture not only on its walls but the building also vibrates to the beat of the rumba. On Sundays at midday it becomes a meeting place for dancers, singers, musicians, children and tourists with cameras over their shoulders. Here, the colour of your skin, your language and clothes don’t matter and you’re even forgiven if you don’t have rhytmn in your veins. As its walls say, “This place belongs to the human race”.