This Gund Associate-curated exhibition brings together the work of Arien Chang Castán and Leysis Quesada Vera, two contemporary Cuban photographers who intimately portray everyday life in Cuba in urban and rural settings. With familiar proximity to their subjects, they allegorically recreate the unique rhythms of life on the street and in the countryside, recalling personal memories that take form in surreal compositions and pictorial narratives.
Both artists work among a generation of photographers who emerged from a distinctively Cuban tradition of documentary photography committed to the ideals of the Revolution. Simultaneously, they have experienced the devastating economic crisis caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, and more recently, the development of an international audience eager to catch a glimpse of their isolated country.
While drawing influence from the aesthetic and ethical concerns of the Revolution’s photographers, these artists shift focus to explore the individual stories and personal expressions that make up the social and cultural fabric of Cuban life. The selection of photographs shown here poetically captures fleeting glimpses of men, women and children immersed in work, play and repose.
The artists juxtapose traditional family portraits and subjects of varying age and gender to emphasize the cultural importance of the domestic sphere. Brought together in this exhibition, they compose a rich vernacular image of life in Cuba, which is suspended in an ambiguous historical moment caught between the dreams and disappointments of the country’s revolutionary history and an uncertain future of socio-economic change.
The exhibition will be on display March 19-April 19, 2018, with an opening reception from 5-8 p.m. on Monday, March 19.
Gund Gallery exhibitions and programs are sponsored, in part, by the Gund Gallery Board of Directors, the Ohio Arts Council and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Image: Arien Chang Castán (Cuban, b. 1979), "Untitled" (from the El Bleco series), 2010. Color photograph. Gund Gallery Collection; Gift of David Horvitz ‘74 and Francie Bishop Good.
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