Banco Pedroso

Havana, Cuba

Expropriated 1960

The Disappointed Tourist: Banco Pedroso, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

Banco Pedroso was a Cuban bank founded in 1934 by Jacinto Pedroso, one of the most important Cuban businessmen in the first half of the 20th Century. The bank continued to be held by members of the Pedroso family. The bank was expropriated by the Castro regime in 1960 and the building has fallen into disrepair. I don’t know who took the photograph on which I based this painting.

This particular building meant a lot to me because it was built by my father Victor Pedroso and when I left Cuba in 1960 it was intact and beautiful. It was his pride and joy. When I went back for the first time to Cuba in 1998, it had been destroyed and it made me think how hard my father had worked for it and how easily it had been destroyed. That’s why I chose this picture. Alina P.