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In October of 2018 I announced Marine Café Blog’s shift in focus. Instead of the mundane issues that bedevil the maritime industry, I would write about marine art and other topics ignored by the shipping press, including sea-related photography and literature.

For sure, not everyone in the frenetic, money hungry world of shipping cares about art. But it should offer new ways of looking at the sea and the lives of those who make a living from it — like Joaquín Sorolla‘s 1903 painting, Las tres velas, or The three sails (pictured above).

Why change direction when the blog had established a reputation as a source of bold and independent commentaries on the industry and gained a fairly wide following? It’s a fair question to ask, and my answer is simple.

After writing for nine long years about the rights of mariners and other issues, I had not only grown tired. I felt dismayed and defeated. I was like Sisyphus — rolling words up a mountain, only to see them roll down so that I had to start all over again.

The reality is that nothing has changed in the industry in terms of its underlying culture. Seamen are still treated like commodities. Greed and opportunism still reign. And the maritime press? It still does what it does best: kiss ass.

One would be a fool to think that art can change the real world. But as the greatest artist of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso, said: “El objeto del arte es quitar el polvo a la vida diaria de nuestras almas.” (The purpose of art is to remove from our souls the dust of everyday life.) Goodness knows, the world of shipping is covered with a thick blanket of dust.

~Barista Uno

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