Said Musa y su palacio en la Zona Colonial.

por el 05/12/12 at 4:17 pm

Artículo cortesía de Thomas Donnelly del The Colonial Zone Chronicles.  Thomas es un critico y artista americano que recorre las calles de la ciudad colonial con el mismo cariño que todos los amantes de “La Zona”. FC

Textos y fotos: Thomas Donnelly

In my wanderings around the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo, I have often gaze longingly at a particular building in one of the nicer areas near El Conde. This building has a newly painted exterior and, though it features a deceptively simple single-story Casa Colonial facade, I had a feeling that the interior would be sensational. Well, I was right.


I recently met with the art journalist and attorney Fernando Casanova at the Arte Berri Gallery, and he subsequently brought me to visit a friend of his in the Colonial Zone. By coincidence, our destination turned out to be the same building that I was dying to see. My excitement upon arriving increased when I was introduced to his friend, the Dominican artist Said Musa, and had a glimpse of the interior of the building.

Said Musa is well-known for his beautiful paintings and exquisite drawings, but most of all he is renowned for his ceramic art. Musa studied under Jaime Colson and Domingo Liz at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo and has enjoyed an illustrious career as an artist, with numerous solo and group exhibitions both within the Dominican Republic and abroad. When I entered his premises, I was at once captivated by the 16th century architectural features, including the arches, brick columns and soaring ceilings. As he led me through the building, I was also enthralled by the 19th century patterned tile floors and then equally fascinated by the contemporary ceramic tile artwork that was both incorporated into the walls and displayed as independent works of art. There was a rhythm, a pattern to things that was aesthetically very appealing. 

This huge edifice currently serves as Said Musa’s taller, his art studio, but it is also an ongoing architectural and interior design project. It is primarily a workplace. He has large tables, and lots of sunlight, for drawing designs for his ceramic tiles. There are several works in process, as well as many finished pieces that he has affixed to the walls. This contemporary artwork blends magically with the original interior, and his studio beautifully complements the other rooms of the building. Although there is the expected disarray of any ongoing remodelling-construction project, it is easy to imagine the final result and impossible not to hope for its imminent completion.

What are Musa’s plans for the building? When completed, he will keep his studio on the left side and a restaurant will occupy the larger rooms to the right and the exterior courtyard. This is the type of project that is ideally suited for the Colonial Zone. A unique space that combines, in an avant-garde manner, the best aspects of the Colonial Zone’s cultural heritage with the allure of its contemporary artistic scene. Imagine a huge and colorful abstract ceramic tile mural in a 16th century courtyard. Or a framed, painted tile work by Musa below Baroque arches. Eclectic, to say the least, but it works.

I can only hope that Musa opens the restaurant soon. It is sure to attract an interesting clientele.

Although I did not want to leave this wonderful building, Musa and Fernando Casanova coaxed me into joining them at the cafe in Parque  Colon. After a brief but memorable conversation, I left these two friends, both well known Dominican figures in their own right, to their beers and cigars.  Reliving the past or planning their futures, or maybe just watching the people flow past the cafe.

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