The year is 1928—Ernest Hemingway, his wife Pauline, their two sons, Jack and Patrick and Pauline’s sister Jinny Pfeiffer are traveling from Key West to Spain. Fate has it that they land in Havana, Cuba—a layover point on their westward journey. Unbeknownst to all, Hemingway will one day return here to live.
It is said that Hemingway felt such a connection with Cubans and their culture—from marlin fishing to Havana bars, that he called himself a “Cubano Sato,” or a garden-variety Cuban. He moved to Havana in 1939 and eventually settled in San Francisco de Paula, about 15 miles from Havana. It was here, at his house called Finca Vigía, “Lookout Farm,” that Hemingway penned the novel that he would be most known for, “The Old Man and the Sea.” Drawing inspiration from small nearby fishing village Cojimar, he wrote about an old fisherman’s struggle to subdue a captive giant marlin—a story that would be his last major work, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a significant contributor in his earning the Nobel Prize in Literature.
For its beauty and reputation, visitors seek out Cojimar, including our own artist Karen Weihs. Like Hemingway, Weihs was inspired to create something that spoke not only of the setting, but also the locals. Her work by the same name features abstracted huts in every color of the rainbow atop a field of grasses and under a misty blue sky. When asked why she chose so many colors for the buildings, Weihs responded, “In Cuba, people use whatever color they can find to paint their homes…they are a colorful people.”