exhibition statement

Cuba in Focus
An exhibition by American and Cuban photographers

“Cuba in Focus” highlights the vitality of Cuban life as observed by American and Cuban photographers.  The American photographers participated in one of two cultural exchange trips led by photographic artist and Foothill College professor Ron Herman (and organized by Global Exchange).  As part of the exchange, Cuban photographers shared their work and perspectives on Cuba today.

American and Cuban photographers joined up on photo walks through the streets of Havana. These experiences gave the Americans a chance to see Cuba through the eyes of the Cuban photographers, how they interacted with members of their own community as well as witness their different styles of making images. The Cuban people and photographers were warm and hospitable, engaging in open conversations and welcoming the Americans into their homes. It was a rich collaboration for all involved.

Although the average monthly salary is only $20, the Cuban people are resourceful and
have tremendous spirit.  Survival depends on interconnectedness and a sense of community that is easily witnessed in the vibrant street life. This exhibit focuses on the activity of the street and in homes whether it is with their music, religion, children playing, or people having lively conversations. The participation of the Cuban photographers provides a truly local perspective in contrast.

“Cuba in Focus” attempts to capture Cuba in its current transitional state, anticipating that the Cuba of tomorrow may be very different.  Today, Cuba consists of colonial architecture and automobiles that have been “frozen in time” in a weak economy that is struggling to provide for the people. Very slowly changes are being made. Small examples of free enterprise can be seen. But the true beauty of Cuba is best seen through its people.  They are dynamic, inventive, and joyful.

American photographers exhibiting are: Katherine Bazak, Mary Bender, Harlan Crowder, Lisa D’Alessandro, Ron Herman, Bob Hills, Mary Ellen Kaschub, Robin Lockner, Laura Oliphant, Cynthia Sun, John Thacker.

Cuban photographers exhibiting are: Guillermo Bello, Raül Cañibano, Mario Diaz, José
Manuel Fors, Eduardo Garcia, Jorge Gavilondo, Perfecto Romero.