Specimen Lost in a Tropical Island

 

 

 

In a tract of land surrounded by water, history and fiction are easily confused on a daily basis.  

 

Our history began to be recorded the day Christopher Columbus landed in my province, Holguin, Cuba, in 1492. Apparently, this is how Columbus “discovered” America.  Since his arrival, a series of historical events shaped our identity and created what we called Cubans. Most of these events happened as a consequence of decisions made by rulers such as Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon. 

 

A few centuries later, there was a time when ships stopped coming to the country and started leaving. Resources were limited, and people were in survival mode. The lack of material goods led to an explosion of creativeness. Cubans were able to keep 50-year-old cars in working order, they built houses in the narrowest spaces, and they created art almost from nothing. 

 

The youngest generation of Cubans emerged at a time where creativeness was part of the identity of the nation. A new generation, now more open to change and acceptance than the past one, is the hope of building a future for Cuba.

 

In this series, I am portraying the youngest generation of Cubans, who are the future of the country. The models, apparently dressing in sumptuous costumes symbolizing the relationship of past and present, are using regular objects found in their homes such as kitchen towels, curtains, table covers, bedspreads, plastic bags, clothes pegs, and stainless steel scouring pads. The photographs recreate what power means by using repurposed objects to depict minorities.

 

This series extends the concept of the uncertainty of what real power means. It is about expanding the meaning of power and constructing hope- the hope to be, the hope to succeed, and the hope of being remembered.

© Carlos Gamez de Francisco