Search the Gallery
The Good Old Days by Alberto Martinez
Limited Edition Print of 49
Medium: Giclee On Canvas
Image Size: 30" x 40"
Framed Size 39" x 49"
On the surface ‘The Good Old Days’ shows a London bus being followed by a small herd of elephants, passing a pub! Not your typical every day scene. However, on closer inspection this painting has numerous symbolic references to Great Britain and Cuba, Alberto’s home country.
The left side chronicles elements of British history: The Post Office, established in 1660 by Charles II, seen with canons protruding from the building as though it were a galleon pays tribute to Britain’s naval history.
The retro microphone represents the BBC, another British institution, whilst The DeLorean car was first manufactured in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland in 1981. The copper kettle reminds us to ‘put the kettle on’ which is our default in any situation!
A keyboard represents Britain’s contribution to the music industry reflecting the iconic image of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road.
The British Empire’s colonisation of Africa is depicted by African Elephants.
The nose-cone of Concorde built collaboratively by Britain and France in 1969 also subtly references religion as the nose-cone is in fact a small ‘cross’. Finally, a steam train reminds us of the great British railways and our ability to develop all types of transport and logistics, fields in which we remain as world leaders.
The central section of the picture references ‘time’ and how we often refer to ‘it was never like this in the good old days’ as if the past was somehow much better than the present. Even the bus is an old model!
The Cuban/British theme continues on the front of the bus where we see English born Shakespeare to the left and Cuban national hero Jose Marti to the right, a poet, journalist and author of children’s stories.
Above Shakespeare, a TV represents how we may see things differently when portrayed via the media.
The right side of the piece focuses on a Cuban theme: A refreshing Cuba Libra (rum and coke) is being sipped by a Bee Hummingbird, the world’s smallest known bird, native to Cuba. The pencil, which forms the post of the ‘No Entry’ sign, refers to the Cuban education system which is among the best in the world, but ‘No Entry’ also reminds us that access to many countries is still denied to Cubans.
The Ural motorcycle shows the close links Cuba maintains with Russia, however, it has a snail for a wheel facing in the wrong direction making it slow and likely to go round in circles. It’s also facing in the wrong direction against the No Entry sign, which is a jovial reference to Cuban people’s opinion of Castro’s leadership, particularly in his later years.
To conclude, did you know that dominoes is the national game of Cuba?