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About the artists‘ series

Baobabs
 
Susan Bank (b. Portsmouth NH, USA 1938)
The Cuba: Campo Adentro series is a portrait of an agrarian culture where American photographer Susan Bank lived and worked with campesinos during multiple trips to the tobacco-farming region in the Valley of Vinales, Pinar del Rio Province, from 2002 to 2009. Bank focused on ten families, related by blood ties or marriage, who live and work with no modern conveniences. She set out to use the simple materials of daily life to explore the relationships among campesinos, their animals and land. Overcoming obstacles from the US government and Cuban authorities, Bank has created a raw poetic, humanistic vision of ordinary farmers that reaches beyond the boundaries of an island culture in the early 21st century. She had no political agenda; it was not her intention to disturb life in el campo.
Raul Cañibano Ercilla (b. Cuba, 1961)
Raul’s photography is about people and his connection with them, while documenting everyday life in Cuba. His focus is on daily life, history and socialism. He is currently based in Havana where he works as an commercial photographer.

Arien Chang Castán (b. La Habana, Cuba, 1979)
The series Long Life is a study of relationships between men and women who are between 100 and 109 years old, inspired by research carried out by the Center for Demographic Studies (CEDEM). It is an unprecedented achievement that there are approximately 1000 of these elderly individuals in a country which is under an economic blockade, where it is very difficult to get access to medicine and medical equipment. This is a clear example of the potential of Cuba’s health system.

Alinka Echeverría (b. Mexico, 1981)
The series Cuba 1959: The Second Front, is a work in progress, on the collective memory and remembrance of the veterans of the Cuban Revolution. Through portraits of these men in their homes, Alinka attempts to visually extract fragments of these men’s collective memory to unveil anonymous life stories, which have become opaque by political discourse, and a battle between world powers. The process of being photographed wearing their military uniforms and medals, provoked, in many an emotional journey into their past and created a space for self-reflection of their identity as veterans of a war that changed their nation forever.

Alejandro González Méndez (b. La Habana, Cuba, 1974)
The series Inappropriate Behavior is an inventory of individuals subject to rejection or exclusion because of their sexual preferences. It is a denunciation of homophobia. Symbolically it is also a call to respect differences—political, ideological, and religious. The close up portraits taken during the World Day against homophobia celebration (May 17, 2008) show people’s faces and try to “erase” the features that identify them in terms of gender. The title of this work, Inappropriate Behavior, is ironic, because it alters the meaning of what had once been a chargeable offense.

   
Liudmila & Nelson: Liudmila Velasco (b. Moscú, Rusia, 1969/resides in Cuba since 1977) & Nelson Ramírez de Arellano (b. Berlin, Germany, 1969/resides in Cuba since 1972)
The series El Viaje, is part of the many works Liudmila & Nelson have developed around the idea of a "journey", as a reference to a change of state or the implications of moving from one place to another. This project is also based on their personal and social experiences.
René de Jesus Peña González (b. La Habana, Cuba, 1957)
The artist describes The series Untitled Album as a self reflection on being black in today’s western society. Peña believes the black person who is definitively inserted into western society has no need to seek pride in a remote past in Africa or in the cotton or sugarcane fields. Peña believes that as a black person, he feels proud of the history that he holds in the here and now, without needing to be stereotyped as a King of the Dance.
Guatemala: A territory of many trees
Clara de Tezanos (b. Guatemala, Guatemala, 1986)
In the series All Woman are Maria, the artist examines the tension between the historically accepted ideal feminine and the reality of being a woman in a Latin society. An exploration of the relationship between the so-called "society" young women and Maria, the Virgin— each woman is photographed in her environment—such as the house she lives in, the room where she sleeps and the kitchen where she cooks. The tension between the ideals of being an adequate woman in Latin society and a liberal contemporary reality filled with possibilities, opportunities and independence creates tension in each woman’s life. This series is an outcry, a belief in these entrapped role’s these women feel culturally submerged too and the artist belief in their potential to break free.
Juan José Estrada Toledo (b. Guatemala, Guatemala, 1982)
Utopía documents remote places in Guatemala, up in the mountains where life is yet to be disturbed by any of the activities that happen in the city. In these places, the artist finds that the people live in a land where pristine nature, fresh air, clean water and great soil for farming are available, yet all they talk about is what happens “over there”. Over there means the US. They all have stories about family members and friends that have made it, others that have not; some are dead, some disappeared, some have tried more than 5 times to make the journey. For more than a year, Juan José has been photographing these villagers who seek to define the “over there” without ever having traveled to the US. This series explores the relationship between these people, their land and their dreams.

 

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