Revealing complexities both on and off the island, Cuba Is explored aspects of Cuba not easily accessed by foreigners, and sometimes not even by Cubans themselves. Born from indigenous, African and European roots, divergent politics and limitations in communication and commerce, the Cuba seen in this exhibition went beyond the folklore and offered new insight into its current reality. Over 120 photos featured subjects ranging from defiant youth known as “Frikis” to the hard-partying children of the 1%, the underground system of sharing digital content—“El paquete”—to Miami’s Chonga girls.
Cuba Is also included archival images and work done on assignment by four featured photographers: Elliott Erwitt, Leysis Quesada, Raúl Cañibano and Tria Giovan. An original documentary film—produced by the Annenberg Foundation—followed these photographers as they capture unseen images of life in Havana and beyond.
Complementing this rare, immersive look into Cuban life was a virtual reality experience that delved into Cuba’s current dynamic music scene, allowing visitors to virtually stroll along the storied Malecón.
Work from Violet Isle: A Duet of Photographs from Cuba, by Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, was featured in an outdoor exhibit adjacent to the Photo Space. The photos brought together Alex’s exploration of the streets of Cuba along with Rebecca’s discovery of unique collections of animals throughout the island.
The Cuba Is exhibit was part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Pacific Standard Time was an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor was Bank of America.