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  • Writer's pictureAlejandro Santana

"Barquito de Papel", watercolors, colored pencils, and folded printer paper on watercolor paper.

By Alejandro Santana

It is around 4:30 and I am coming back from school to my home in Unión de Reyes, Cuba. I take off the red pañoleta from my neck and change out off my white shirt, burgundy denim shorts, and black shoes into more comfortable clothes. I would often not even change my clothes because I was so excited to sit down on my wooden rocking chair to watch the cartoons that had been carefully picked out for us Cuban kids to watch. The grainy texture of the screen and muffled sounds did not take off any of the excitement that I had to watch the cartoons. It was during this time that Barquito de Papel would play its melodies and show its beautiful animation through my fat and ancient television. The words would hypnotize me and to this day I can still remember them by memory: "Barquito de papel, mi amigo fiel. Llévame a navegar por el ancho mar. Yo quiero conocer a niños de aquí y allá, y a todos llevar mi flor de amistad. Abajo la guerra, arriba la paz, los niños queremos reír y cantar." The inspiration for this piece lies within this song and the memories that it brings me.

What does all of this have to do with the painting? You might ask. Well, while I was sitting listening to this song, I felt so much peace in my mind, which I attempted to emulate with the freedom and spontaneity created by the strokes produced by the paintbrush when dipped in watercolors. I also set, if one could say, my piece during the night to create this same peace. The tiny paper boats (barquitos de papel ) and paper airplanes, flow with the current of the water and wind coming from the interior of a shell. I saw this as a clever way to showcase the idea that when you put your ear up to a shell, you can hear the sea. The sea might as well, just spill out from the interior of the shell; it is too deep and vast to be contained. The dream atmosphere that I attempted to create within the piece was influenced by one of my favorite artists: Salvador Dali. His landscapes, illusions, and odd scenarios always have given me a peace that is comparable to that of the song.

Barquito de Papel is a stepping stone for me as I escape a prison of stress that prevented me from creating. Hope you enjoyed :).

Rough translation: Little paper boat, my faithful friend. Take me to sail through the deep blue sea. I want to meet children from here and there, and give them all my flower of peace. Down with the war and celebrate peace, us children just want to laugh and sing.

Link to the song that inspired me:

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