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This 95 Year Old's Art Gallery Is Complete Trash

A senior Cuban exdiplomat and former barber has converted his home into a peculiar gallery.

Héctor Pascual Gallo has spent the past 30 years finding the perfect place to locate all kinds of artifacts.

Some were found in the trash or on the street, and some given to him by neighbours and friends who know he uses them to create what is now known in Havana as "The Garden of Feelings".

While some neighbors make fun of his junkyard, Gallo laughs and says most appreciate his work, like his friend Esther Fernandez. Image: Reuters

Expired sewing machines, televisions, telephones, shoes, glasses, bones, dolls, helmets.. it's a treasure trove in the gallery near the sea, where the saltpeter has oxidised most of the objects.

Known as an intelligence officer for Cuba during the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, Gallo lived in a comfortable home in the center of Havana. His life changed when he retired at age 65 to a working-class suburb where he could find a larger home for his growing family.

The move in 1990 to "Alamar" - a populated Soviet-style urbanisation on the eastern edge of Havana - during the country's economic crisis, changed his life and inspired his artistic streak.

Gallo began to "save" abandoned objects and give them life, as a way to save and reinvent himself, he told Reuters.

Héctor Pascual Gallo. Image: Reuters

"As the human organism has these magical abilities, I let myself go and let my feelings guide me, and from then on, when I saw some stone, it was as if it said to me - but it wasn't a hallucination - 'find me a place'. And then (I told myself): We are the same. Go here. When things are done with love, love springs forth," he said from his wheelchair.

While some neighbours make fun of his junkyard, Gallo laughs and says most appreciate his work, like his friend Esther Fernandez.

"Everything, the bathroom, the rooms, the kitchen, the living room, there is nowhere to put anything else, because everything is full of objects that he has put, because everything that has been given to him, which is no longer useful, that people are going to throw away, they give it to him, because he with much love gives life to all those things," she says.

Gallo is recognised as one of the main artists of Art Brut in Cuba, where that style is virtually unknown. His gallery here in the Alamar neighbourhood of Havana receives a steady stream of tourists.

World

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