Where are you from? Cultuurecentrum Mechelen

Images: Simon Roberts

Where are you from? Cuba Photography Missions is a group exhibition being shown at Cultuurecentrum Mechelen, Belgium, before touring to Havana in 2023. It will feature new work I’ve made looking at the role of religion in Cuban society.

In 2019, Cuba celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Revolution. In 1959, Fidel Castro and Ché Guevarra ousted the dictator Fulgencio Batista and the country began working towards a utopian future. However, caught between the hammer and the anvil of Soviet communism and an American embargo, the country entered a period of sustained economic hardship whilst remaining fundamentally committed to the socialist values of the Revolution.

Against this background, an extensive photography project was set up with four Cuban and four European artists. Taking the current social and economic reality of the island as their starting point, each developed a photographic project that together provide a nuanced picture of this complex country. The eight works juxtapose the photographic interpretations of the local artists with those of the Europeans, who produced their work during several intensive working trips. The project starts from the idea of ‘heritage’, in the broadest sense of the word, and explores Cuba’s past, present and future.

Who we are and from which perspective we view each other determines the richness of this unique photography mission.

This VLIR-UOS project is the result of a collaboration between ISA, Universidad de las Artes in Havana and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.

Participating photographers: Ossain Raggi Gonzalez, Bert Danckaert, Linet Sanchez, Charlotte Lybeer, Liudmila & Nelson, Ulla Deventer, Ricardo Elias and Simon Roberts.

Curator: Joachim Naudts.

An exhibition catalogue is published alongside the exhibition, which includes an essay by a text by Alison Nordström. Available here: https://www.stockmansartbooks.be/nl/cuba-photography-missions-where-are-you-from.html