Segments in this Video

Freedom of Expression (03:44)


Salvador Gonzalez encounters an African-American man expressing anger about racism in Times Square. The man insults him; as an Afro-Cuban and a Chango priest, Gonzalez is confused. He puts on face paint and tells a narrative about slaves retaining art, music, and magic in Cuba.

Cuban Artist in New York (03:56)

Gonzalez works on a canvas and explains his creative process. An artist friend recalls meeting Gonzalez and his wife.

Cayo Hueso (02:58)

Gonzalez's wife describes their courtship. Gonzalez discusses his mural masterpiece in Hamel's Alley. Visit his home in Central Havana.

Painting Hamel's Alley (02:57)

Gonzalez describes his methods of cleaning up garbage while working on his mural. Cayo Hueso residents discuss how it's brightened the neighborhood. Gonzalez holds musical gatherings at his gallery space

Rumba (03:45)

A group of dancers performs at Gonzalez's gallery in Cayo Hueso. View his murals and Orisha shrines.

Afro-Cuban Music (03:34)

Gonzalez works in his Cayo Hueso gallery. An expert discusses the origins of Rumba as the Yambu in the 19th century. Dancers perform to the slower rhythm.

Rumba Evolution (02:53)

An expert discusses how the Rumba became faster as it developed. Dancers perform to the Guaguanco and the Conga.

Yoruba Culture (03:36)

Gonzalez explains Yoruban views on life. African slaves worshiped the Orishas, rather than converting to Catholicism. Fraternal societies developed to preserve the Yoruba, Congo and Carabali practices; rituals remain strong today in Cuba.

Yoruba Ceremony (03:32)

Gonzalez leads a ritual to Saint Lazaro. Participants sing and play drums; he passes out cigars and alcohol.

Afro-Cuban Priest (02:38)

Gonzalez explains he is an initiate of Orisha, the Yoruba religion transplanted to Cuba. He shares music with an African-American friend while working on a painting.

Afro-Cuban Shrine (02:17)

Gonzalez's most popular Hamel Alley work is a Palo Monte inspired shrine. Figures represent Congo gods brought to Cuba by slaves; a local woman makes an offering. A man restores Gonzalez' murals with better quality paints.

Search for Materials (04:05)

Gonzalez drives around Havana looking for resources to create a dramatic work. He explains that Santeria is a fusion of Catholic saints and Orishas, and identifies gods of the forest and nature while cutting vines.

Dramatic Art (02:59)

Gonzalez works with dancers and folkloric groups for his performance pieces dedicated to the Orishas. View a ceremony.

Resourceful Artist (02:28)

Gonzalez uses recycled materials for his Hamel's Alley sculptures. He finds a tank at a Havana landfill for a new piece.

Afro-Cuban Art and Music Friendship (02:37)

Gonzalez introduces Tata Guines, a world class conga player. Tito jams while Gonzalez works on a drum inspired painting at his gallery.

Santera Custom (03:17)

Tata Guines' wife shares her ritual for saying goodbye to Orishas when she leaves home. She comes from a family that practices the Yoruba religion. She travels to Hamel's Alley to attend a Bembe for Chango.

Bembe (05:49)

Tata Guines' wife arrives at Hamel's Alley and greets Gonzalez at Chango's shrine in a Santeria ritual. Guests start dancing. A woman is overwhelmed and takes a break. Afterwards, a woman discusses healing powers of the Orishas and of dancing.

Temple to Black Culture (05:23)

Salvador dedicates his Havana work to Afro-Cubans and African-Americans. He welcomes Enrique Molina to Hamel's Alley. Molina thanks him for his contribution to Afro-Cuban culture. Musicians play a rumba and guests dance.

Butterfly Mural (03:33)

Salvador finishes an American commission and starts a new project on a Philadelphia building. View the dedication ceremony. A Cuban friend says there are no gatherings while he's away.

Passengers for Peace Project (03:30)

In Philadelphia, Gonzalez paints a mural on a school bus delivering aid to Cuba. A participant explains she's converted to the Yoruba religion.

Lost in Translation (03:57)

Gonzalez visits his friend Henry in New York, who jokes that his dog ate Gonzalez's canvas. Henry wants to sell it to a museum for $80,000; Gonzales doesn't understand his English.

Embracing Diversity (02:01)

Gonzalez recalls an encounter with an angry African-American man in Times Square. At a Cayo Hueso celebration, he tells friends and performers that we are all humans in the eyes of the universe.

Credits: A Cuban Legend: The story of Artist Salvador Gonzalez (03:22)

Credits: A Cuban Legend: The story of Artist Salvador Gonzalez

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

A Cuban Legend: The Story of Artist Salvador Gonzalez

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Produced and directed by Bette Wanderman. A journey into the realm of Afro-Cuban culture, this film explores the world of the celebrated Cuban muralist Salvador Gonzalez, a charismatic visionary who has single-handedly transformed an Alley in central Havana called Callejon De Hamel ( Hamel’s Alley ) into a world-renowned outdoor art and performance space. Salvador's  murals  cover walls , doorways and windows reaching up 6 stories, and his sculptures hang and stand everywhere for two full blocks. The  Alley is a monument to the Yoruba culture, a fusion of African mysticism and pagan ritual as well as a community performance space. Though his murals have brought him international recognition, Salvador's art is not limited to painting and sculpture. On Sundays, he presides over  drummers and dancers who come to  listen to and dance  rumba as the drums pulsate with  African rhythms. Part community activist, part shaman, and indisputable lord of the barrio he is inspired by the ancient religious traditions of West Africa which he uses to create performance pieces featuring dancers  he has painted , transforming them into living embodiments of the African deities known as Orishas. These unforgettable tableaux reveal an artistic sensibility that is dynamic and modern, yet recalls the ancient origins of human culture.

Length: 80 minutes

Item#: BVL92094

ISBN: 978-1-60057-798-7

Copyright date: ©2001

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.