"We all have something to say, or something that we do not want to say, but that it's there and I capture it through the eyes."
By Jeanette Dallen
Cuban-born dermatologist Flor Mayoral is the photographer who gave life to the international “Silence Project” to be presented in the city of Coral Gables from July 5.
Hundreds of photos compiled by Flor since 2007 are part of the sample, in which the people portrayed appear placing their index finger on their lips in a gesture of silence.What led you to make this photo project?A few years ago, I visited Santo Domingo in Guatemala and I saw an advertising photography of some girl doing the silence sign; her gaze was placid, was very special. This made me think of the gesture of silence as a universal language that does not need translation, has no barriers or obstacles to be understood. Years later, I started taking pictures of people doing that kind of gesture. When I take pictures, the gaze from one person to another is always different and one can perceive emotions and feelings that can be of sadness, peace, joy, fear, mischief.
What I'm looking for in this sample is to bring together – in a single language – all the people I've known through my life, when I travel, or simply those I bump into on the street. It may be someone important or not, old or young, good-looking, ugly, or simply someone disguised or wearing an interesting outfit.
I've become somewhat obsessed with it. I don't ask questions relating to religion or political interest. I simply show them pictures of the project that I carry in my cell phone and ask them to participate.What is the integration between the city of Coral Gables and the project?This is a project for the city of Coral Gables because it involves several members of this community, from Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli to the mail boy. In addition, it invites the public to participate, to look at the photos and interpret the emotions of those who have been photographed.Who is the most important figure that you have taken a picture of?Mario Vargas Llosa. I met him in a restaurant in the community and took the opportunity to ask him to pose in silence for me.Where has Silence Project been displayed?Part of the sample was displayed in Alicante, Spain; Winwood, Miami; La Fototeca in Havana, Cuba; and will soon in Aruba.
The photo exhibit came to Miracle Mile – Coral Gables – as part of an alliance between the Business Improvement District (BID) of Coral Gables, the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the City of Coral Gables and the Conde Contemporary gallery.
During the artistic display, many in the audience had the opportunity to learn about the photographic work of Flor Mayoral – the luckiest ones posed for her in silence in order to take part in the project – at Conde Contemporary (204 Miracle Mile), where they were also able to buy tax-deductible portraits for the benefit of the Coral Gables Community Foundation.
The event was welcomed very warmly in the digital scene through the #silenceproject hashtag, with which many pictures participated on Instagram and even took part in the display.