Back to all films


Waya is a short documentary about a Cuban “outsider” artist, Julian Espinosa Rebollido, that is in production. The project presents the artist, his work, views of peer artists and collectors to understand how this outsider has become part of the canon of 20th and 21st century Cuban art.

Julian Espinosa Rebollido is a Cuban “primitive/outsider” artist and local legend commonly known as Wayacón. While he has traveled all over Cuba and even served in the army during the Bay of Pigs, he has spent most of his life in the town of Remedios, Santa Clara where he lives in the home of his grandparents under the care of one of his sons. Surrounded by his dog, cat, chickens and his goat, his home is a living gallery of his art.

Over his life, Wayacón has made friends around the world who have helped his art be seen and appreciated despite the challenges of being an artist in a country stricken by widespread scarcity. His art has been sold in galleries and auctions internationally. He has received prizes and his work is part of national collections. He is not entirely aware just how far his art has traveled. He simply creates to live. 

The team enters the home and mind of the artist who director, Charles Abelmann, first met in 2013. The intent of the project is to leave a legacy of Wayacón’s thought through his work and his words with added narration of artists that can help a general audience appreciate his unique position as an outsider within the renowned Cuban art sphere. In order to set a context for the work, the team follows the fascinating cuban studies veteran, Sandra Levinson as she leads a tour centering Cuban art and culture. She has known Wayacón for over thirty years and helped him and many other artists get their work outside of Cuba as the Director for The Center for Cuban Studies. Through this lens, the viewer is exposed to Cuban art and culture deepening an understanding of the context of contemporary Cuban life. Wayacón greets new guests and his old friend, Sandra, exchanges that reveal how his sense of reality is sometimes as blended as the colors and mythical beings portrayed in his art. Interviews with people Wayacón has touched and depended upon reveal the pivotal life experiences that have influenced his work and his noteworthy role in the landscape of contemporary outsider art. While a film about an artist and his craft in a struggling Cuba, it is a story about the drive to create and connect revealing the complexity of the mind and heart. 

Projects like these depend on donations and grants to support our team, participants, and to complete the film. We are greatly appreciative of your tax deductible contributions.


Associated Members

Charles Abelmann, Director


We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors:

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Lowel Cultural Council
Cabot Family Charitable Trust
Liberty Mutual Foundation
City of Boston Arts and Culture