Foothill College presents Cuban at Heart: A Photographic Exhibition, which captures the magnetic pull of the Cuban people--their warmth, openness, and resourcefulness--as photographed by 16 Foothill College photography students and their instructor, Nov. 28 through Jan. 16 at the Krause Center for Innovation (KCI) Gallery at Foothill College. An opening reception will be held Thursday, Nov. 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. in gallery. Gallery and reception admission is free; parking is $3.
Fifty years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, 17 Silicon Valley photographers traveled to the island nation last summer to capture images of Cuban life at a historic turning point. The 39 photographs featured in the Cuban at Heart exhibit are the artistic result of their journey.
During a two-week professional research trip to Cuba led by Foothill Photography Instructor Ron Herman, M.F.A., the 16 student photographers enrolled in Herman's advanced photography courses captured images of Cuban life on the cusp of change. Some of the students had traveled to Cuba with Herman in 2010 and 2011. Others were visiting Cuba for the first time. Co-curators Susan Neville and Bill Scull, drawn back to Cuba to witness firsthand the changes that have begun to take shape since their first visit, have selected striking images that capture the daily life in Cuba.
"Cuba is simultaneously timeless and teeming with possibilities," Herman said. "What struck each of us was the open-heartedness and resilience of the Cuban people. Despite daunting everyday challenges, Cubans display their huge hearts and upbeat spirit in everything they do."
What made this third Foothill photography trip to Cuba so unique was the contrast between the timelessness of Cuba and its people with the current context of impending change, Herman said. American curiosity about Cuba is on the rise, as more and more Americans travel to Cuba. Newly introduced free enterprise, entrepreneurship and redevelopment were evident. From vendors selling the Cuban rendition of hot dogs and pizza at the baseball stadium to paladares (privately owned restaurants) and entrepreneurial bicycle cab drivers—free enterprise is taking hold across this island nation of 11 million people that's located a mere 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
"The arts, culture and creativity in the broadest sense are highly valued in Cuba as are exchanges with the international creative community. As photographers from the 'heart' of California's Silicon Valley, we were welcome visitors," Herman said.
"I have traveled widely and rarely return to the same destination, yet there is something about Cuba and the Cuban people that compels me to return again and again," Scull said. "These photographs offer 17 individual narratives of daily life in Cuba at a time of transition. The Cuban people truly have heart in every sense."
Relationships established through prior visits afforded the Foothill photographers the opportunity to explore beyond traditional tourist destinations, including photo walks with Cuban photographers, and visits to the National Art School and the homes of Cuba's leading artists. The group traveled outside Havana to various provinces, exploring both the rural and urban landscape.
Of traveling with fellow photographers, Neville said, "When you travel with a group of photographers, the challenge is to find a unique and personal point of view when everyone is together. Even when we were all watching the same ballet performance or baseball game, we each saw and captured it differently."
Cuban at Heart features photographers Ann Eddington, Liane Freeman, Allen Gary, Julia Gary, Deborah Hayes, Ron Herman, Bob Hills, Le Lu, Neeley Main, Susan Neville, Annabelle Port, Gabrielle Rondell, Bill Scull, Joan Sperans, Timotius Tjahjadi, Lisa Van Dusen and Don Wheatley.
The exhibit is located in the KCI Gallery, on the lower level of the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College. The KCI Gallery is open Mondays–Fridays, 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is closed Sundays and holidays, as well as during the college's winter recess Dec. 12–Jan. 6.
Parking Lots 4 and 4-B provide stair and no-stair access to the KCI. Visitors must purchase a parking permit for $3 from dispensers in student parking lots. Dispensers accept one-dollar bills and quarters. Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, is located off I-280 in Los Altos Hills.
For more information on Cuban at Heart: A Photographic Exhibition and the experience of photographing in Cuba, view the exhibit blog at http://cubanatheart.wordpress.com.
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