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Cuban artist's St. Pete mural represents peace

26 Sep 2016 12:27 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

Article by Bobby Lewis - WTSP

The colors are the same and bleed into each other on purpose.

“I want to represent what the people want,” said Michel Mirabal with a paintbrush full of white paint dripping off the tip. “What I want when people see my work is thinking about all the time we didn’t have a relationship and it’s time to change that.”

Mirabal stood before a 50-foot long mural blending the American and Cuban flags. Painting such works are his specialty and his latest piece is now on the wall of St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District Arts Xchange building.

“We are two countries that we have a lot of things to give each other,” he said.

Mirabal, who is from Habana, Cuba, painted a similar piece that hangs in the U.S. Embassy in his hometown. It served as the backdrop for official meetings between the United States and Cuba when President Barack Obama visited the country in March.

“Everybody came to take the photos with my painting,” he said with a smile.

Paul Glass, the owner of the Warehouse District building that is home to Mirabal’s new mural, stood in silence, puffing on a cigar, watching the artist work.

“I think it just says a lot more about the community that a lot more people are open to chance and I think it’s time to make that change,” he said. “Michel’s work is a wonderful doorway into this change.”

The painting is something Mirabal hopes is an example of peace between the two nations.

The painting can be seen along the Pinellas Trail in downtown St. Petersburg. It is the 21st painting painted there by international, national and local artists this month, coming on the heels of the Arts Alliance’s annual SHINE Festival.

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