Hector Gallo - Visiting with the Creator of Havana’s Most Stunning Art Brut Environment


Recently we had a chance to visit Hector Pascual Gallo Portieles (“El Gallo”) - a former barber, then diplomat, now visionary artist/obsessive collector - and his “Garden and Gallery of Affections”, the yard in front and the interior of his humble apartment. 


After having lived abroad as a diplomat and journalist, and later in leafier, more elegant precincts of Havana, he moved to his current place almost three decades ago, to a small ground floor apartment in a sprawling Soviet-style public housing development in Alamar, a distant seaside suburb east of Havana.


We arrived by public bus with no prior appointment. We asked our way to his front door and knocked. El Gallo, now in his nineties and walking with a cane, opened the door, and with a wide smile he let us into his own world. For the next several hours we walked around in awe of the installations we were seeing, and of their maker.


El Gallo’s grandson, David Gallo Sanchez, tells the artist's story here.