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Men at Work in Cuba

Havana vieja, X.2001;
pict. H. Jochems
Havana, IV.2005

Exactly like the Falling Rocks and the Children's Crossings, Men at Work signs were at some time past influenced by Spain. Our find from 2001 is direct import from that country. It must have happened more recently than with the children's signs. This panel still looks fresh and we know that that is a condition which is easily lost over there.

Pity (and also pretty obvious for repeat visitors of this site) that Spain —although home of the man from Ara— took this faceless design to share with their former colony. Quite understandably Cuba looked for another supplier and, because bad taste always wins, inclined to Canadian design. Havana's Men at Work are now the same as Montréal's (see Canada) but the workspace supplied is still triangular which is an old-world characteristic. I wonder if this could mean that Cuba is trying to make advances toward the new world without being too overt.

Men at Work signs were only found in Havana. Elsewhere —e.g. Australia— people have to manage with makeshift panels carrying the text Hombres trabajando (The same words are used as a caption in Argentina).

Australia, V.2005

Varadero, 21.II.2010; pict. H. De Meyer

A new find from probably the most international spot on the island. The text comes in two languages and the guy wrestling with his umbrella comes straight from the U.K.

Notice the difference in the wording. The Spanish is plural but the English mentions one single man only. It may be closer to reality.

Caya Coco, 10.XII.2010; pict. J. Hoeyberghs

Very close to the roadsign with the Spanish roots seen in Havana. Notice however that

  • hardly half of the canvas is used.
  • the heap has a smaller base
  • the posture of the man is different

Caya Coco, 9.XII.2010; pict. J. Hoeyberghs

Nice and sweet drawing of a man with a hat against the burning sun and working for two. A stop-and-go sign (at least, that's what I think that it is) in the left hand and a spade in the right.

There are better ways to handle a spade. Like I said in Tanzania, where they have the same problem, someone should give the poor guy some advice on the proper way to handle a digging tool.


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More roadsigns from Cuba: Children's crossing signs - Falling rock signs