Fifteen years ago, in 2002, I brought a large group of pupils, staff and parents over to Cuba for a 10 day guided tour of the island. It was a very successful trip, not without its issues of health and safety, but we got everybody safely back home just in time for Christmas. But I want to focus on just little event, which happened on a walking tour of La Habana.
As we crossed one of the plazas, keeping everyone together as best we could, it turned out that a street artist, a caricaturist, had walked beside me (just one step behind so I didn’t see him) and he had very quickly drawn a caricature of me. This had been set up by one of the pupils and, before we left the plaza, the artist presented me with the finished product. And like all caricatures, it wasn’t really me, but…..and this is the skill of the caricaturist…..he captured something about me that definitely did make it me, and I’ve kept it all these years, and framed it, as a memento of that moment. So why do I tell you this little anecdote from the past?
Well, the other day, I was sitting in a bar tapping in a post for my blog, and it would seem that another secret caricaturist (Cuba must be full of them) was busily at work, obviously outside my line of vision, and taking advantage of my distraction. The first I knew about it was when he came over and put it on the table in front of me. He left me to get over my surprise and study it, then came over hoping for a donation…..which I did honour for his labour…..but my immediate reaction was “that’s not me, flattering though it is, because he seems to have captured something about me when I was 20-30 years younger”. But after several minutes, I realised he had captured something about me that ……… well, simply made it me.