The alphabet Castro 1959 began from my studies about religious oppression in Cuba. I came across an article that told the story of a communist party from a department of religious matters that violently destroyed a home of a woman who is a devoted catholic. The communist party took any religious item this woman had and wrecked them, leaving this woman with no intact religious items in her own home. After reading this article I began to elaborate a design where I can illustrate what was left of the religious assault in that woman’s home. I used several catholic items such as rosaries, crosses, figurines of the Virgin Mary, and prayers candles. I took each item and purposely broke them down into pieces to represent the assault against the woman. Repetitively freedom of religion has been burnt down, a Cuban can’t liberally and publicly embrace their religion without being persecuted. I utilized the burning strategy within some of the letters to resemble the intensity that each individual has to physically and emotionally go through when embracing their religion. The name Castro 1959 was chosen because of the great revolution of 1959 lead by Fidel Castro. Before 1959, the current president at that time Fulgencio Batista, corrupted the island by murdering thousands of Cubans. This lead for Castro and Che Guevara to lead a revolution that would end the mass murder and overthrow Batista. Castro’s new power over Cuba lead for him to announce the nation as a communist country. While at the time this was the most powerful action that was needed for Cubans, the slight change in political approach lead for other countries to renounce any alliance they had with Cuba. Castro emerged new practices into the island that gave all citizens free healthcare and education all through college, while ultimately this was an amazing and smart approach, he’s ego rose so high that he forgot the simple fundamentals of basic human rights.
While Castro did amazing things for the people of Cuba he also incorporated various disturbing rules that discriminated against thousands of people and through the years you can physically see it in the streets of Cuba. Becoming a Communist party caused for the distribution of products from various countries to stop, luckily the Soviet Union was in tack at the time and it helped Cuba with all the supplies needed but in 1991 the Soviet Union was brought down and Cuba lost their main resource provider. Economy dies in Cuba, not only are people oppressed from expressing their believes at this point but their leader isn’t providing them with sufficient food income or proper living standards. Fidel Castro for 49 years, forty nine years, ruled over Cuba. His need to be idolized rose above any need the Cuban people had.
Today, Cuba remains under Castro’s leadership for what is now 57 years, although it has been passed down to his younger brother Raul Castro. Religion continues to be oppressed but slowly people are able to practice their believe more freely and old churches that where shut down are reopening. In 2015, President Obama announced the lifting of the embargo with Cuba which allows for Americans to legally step into Cuban land and US Dollars to circulate more in the island. Although is not a full victory for Cuban, the heart of thousands are impatiently waiting for the rehabilitation of Cuba, which till this day remains to look like the lifestyle of the late 50’s except destroyed.
All together, the concept, design and factual studies represents the Spanish typographic alphabet of Castro 1959.
To deliberate a powerful message through typography I chose to brake down, burn, shatter and destroy any religious item I came across. Religious is an important matter in culture today and although this is an offensive act to Catholicism I knew that I had to do it this way to get a message across. I believe that society needs to be well aware of the cultural differences around the world, how in places like Cuba freedom of religion and speech don't exist. An average american mind believes today that Cuba, being a latin country, is openly able to express their beliefs. With Castro 1959 I visually educate the audience of the cruel tragedy that is going on in the present day.
Castro 1959 is visually open to interpretation, each individual has the capacity to openly identify their beliefs with this typography. The first glance of the poster shows a spanish alphabet but the moment that the mind sinks in each individual letter it has the capacity to interpret their own belief of what its viewing. The tittle itself sends out a powerful message, Castro 1959. Cuba remained stuck in a time era ever since the revolution occurred in the 60s, any sort of trade was immediately out of the questions making it extremely difficult to live day by day. More than half of Cuba lives in poverty with only hopes to some day be freed from this prison and with these hopes they rely on religion and faith to help them push through the difficult life they are forced to live. Every inch of freedom has been removed from the souls of Cubans but despite the circumstances they still maintain a life of faith, hope and hunger. A nation living this cannot do anything to help themselves fight the corruption but art can help raise awareness globally so that one day we can manage to end this corruption. Cuba in general is a country with no proper future, each letter of Castro 1959 should resemble that need, the injustice, the desperation and the continuous faith that is never lost by Cubans. The expression in people's faces when they take a look at Castro 1959 is fantastic but it is impressive once they know the full meaning behind it. They get close, they analyze each letter and there is silence, a silence that at the moment may seem of dissatisfaction but once they step back you are able to see their facial expression, an expression of disbelief. Disbelief because they are now aware of what is going on in Cuba and disbelief because of the way this was executed. This is the voice of Cubans, this is an eye catcher to reality.