LOS ANGELES – A complex, multi-faceted Cuba, but one hidden from tourists and some Cubans, is what the photographic exhibit entitled “Cuba Is” will attempt to explore when it opens on Saturday in Los Angeles.
More than 120 images will comprise the exhibition that will be housed at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles as part of the global Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative that tries to establish cultural links between Latino art and the southern California metropolis.
The curator of the exhibit, Cuba’s Iliana Cepero, said in a telephone interview with EFE that the showing attempts to escape from Cuba’s traditional “iconographic photography,” which in her opinion responds to the images from the 1960s after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and the consolidation of Fidel Castro’s leadership.
“I’m interested in having people understand that Cuba is a country that, of course, has evolved and changed a great deal since that time,” said Cepero in explaining that the artistic focus of “Cuba Is,” which dates back to the so-called “special period” in the 1990s – an epoch of “material and spiritual vicissitudes” in Cuba after the fall of the Soviet Union – to the present day.
According to Cepero, the exposition reflects the numerous patrons, lifestyles and ways of thinking among the new generations of Cubans, elements that might be imperceptible for tourists visiting the Caribbean nation.
“Of course, when you go to a country as a tourist for a week and you see a ‘resort’ ... you only have a very superficial view of the country,” she said in illustrating that the exhibit presents Cuba’s “complexity.”
With works by photographers like Elliott Erwitt, Leysis Quesada, Raul Cañibano, Tria Giovan and Michael Dweck, the exhibit shows the stamp of youth in Havana, portraits of the cultural underground lying hidden in Cuba, intimate and family scenes, and also examples of the island’s rich culture of music and dance.
Cepero emphasized that “Cuba Is” offers a view of the recent interest among Cubans in Internet access and of the lives of the new Cuban elite in “a space unknown to the common Cuban.”
The curator also defended her decision to include photos from the world of Cubans living outside of Cuba, since that “is part of the Cuban reality and part of being Cuban.”
The “Cuba Is” exhibit will remain open to the public until March 4, 2018.