Afrodescendientes/Afro Cuban Guanabacoa
Photographer Roberto Chile
El Calor del Sol
Steven Daiber and Red Trillium Press
November 13, 2012-April 13, 2013
Rosenberg Library, City College of San Francisco
(Campus is closed for winter break December 20, 2012-January 14, 2013)
These two exhibitions offer a chance to see Cuba from two very different perspectives, from both inside and from the outside. Here in the United States we don’t often get to learn about Cuba’s kaleidoscope of unique history, rich culture and powerful role in the history of the Americas. In 1960 the U.S. instituted a trade embargo against the socialist island nation, a blockade that is still in place, having just been re-insituted by a vote in the United Nations General Assembly. Cuba also maintains some travel restrictions although occasionally, musical groups (including Orquesta Aragon and Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro de Cuba recent visiors) and others are able to secure both Cuban and U.S. visas in order to perform here. The U.S. embargo limits travel to Cuba to for U.S. citizens to educational and religous purposes. The City College Travel Abroad program leads trips to Cuba during the winter break, click here to learn more.
For the exhibition Afrodescendientes/Afro-Cuban Guanabacoa , prominent Cuban photographer and documentarian Roberto Chile chose to capture life in the community of Guanabacoa in Havana. This collection of photographs was created for the UNESCO International Year for people of African Descent, 2011. In celebration of that year, Afrodescendientes, has been shown in Havana; Madrid, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina and in Washington DC.
Over his forty year career as a photographer, Chile has served as the staff photographer (1984-2006) for Fidel Castro, President and Minister of Cuba and has produced bodies of work—films and photography collections—on a range of subjects: Cuban dance, children’s theater, Afro-Cuban religion and Alberto Korda, the photographer who created the famous image of Che Guevara that is seen around the world. Chile has been described as a chronicler of his time, in the words of the Historian of the City of Havana, Eusebio Leal Spengler:
“Roberto Chile has forged a unique image of Cuba, always dignified and luminous. His images make up a universe of faith and spirituality, visible to those who, like him, are able to love. “
El Calor del Sol features artists books from Steven Daiber’s Red Trillium Press Based in Massachusetts, Red Trillium publishes artists books in collaboration with Cuban artists. Daiber travels back and forth between the United States and Cuba and has worked in eight different silkscreen workshops in the city of Havana. Subjects for his books include daily life in Havana, the Cuban Revolution, U.S./Cuba relations, Baseball, gay and transgender life in Havana and daily food rationing—as Daiber travels in Cuba, his experiences, and those of the people he meets and the artists he collaborates with are all possible subjects for his handmade books. Daiber says:
“My work facilitates dialogue between Cuban and foreign artists. Red Trillium Press books create real, metaphorical objects: palaces of the memory in which each element underscores a meaning. The collaborative books co-created with Cuban artists tell their stories of the lived reality in Cuba during the 21st century.”
Daiber’s recent trips to Havana in 2010 and 2011 included teaching book arts and book collaborations with Cuban artists. Poder (Power), created in 2010, is the first book in a series of three books based on themes Cuban artists feel describe their social and political relationships: power, privacy and waiting. These ideas developed during a number of meetings and conversations in 2007 with the artists. The second book, Privacidad (Privacy), was created in 2011 and the third book, Esperando (Waiting), is planned for 2013.
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