FACES: 100 Cuban Artists

Sangre de Cristo Arts Center: Regional Gallery, 2nd Foyer, 3rd Foyer
14 May-22 October

 By photographer Carlos Manuel Cardenes

Co-Curators: Karin Larkin and Andrea O'Reilly Herrera

**A sampling of the FACES photographs will be displayed at the Kraemer Family Library at the University of Colorado (Colorado Springs) from May-September 2011; these same photographs will then be on display at the Pikes Peak Library East during the month of October.

       This exhibition is a photographic documentary of the Miami-based community of visual artists from Cuba who began arriving during the 1960s and whose numbers continue to increase to the present day. These are artists whose work has helped to define Miami's image not only as a center for contemporary art in the United States but on the international art scene as well. The work of several of these artists is featured in CAFÉ: The Journeys of Writers and Artists of the Cuban Diaspora and woman.embodied

As expressed by photographer Carlos Manuel Cardenes:
The creative path to this effort was rather intuitive in the beginning. I began studying the work of these individuals-- the mere volume and incredible quality, not to mention their passion to create. As I continued in this art appreciation journey, I developed a deep awareness that incredibly diverse talent was emerging from a rather photographic style (as yet another Cuban artist) their work, along with their faces, thereby capturing their struggles, their stories, and their incredible passion for art.
Generally, the documentation of artists takes the form of straightorward portraits, which then become a parenthesis to the art. My approach was to conflate the work and the artist into a single indivisible image--to place creator and creation in the same canvas and, so to speak, put the flesh on the bones of creation. To see the art and the artist as one--that was my vision. To that end, I spend close to two years planning and scheduling sittings with every artist I could reach. We are privileged to be surrounded by their creativity and their dedication to the arts.
Carlos Manuel Cardenes' one hundred photographs of Cuban artists from the diaspora raises vital questions about the representation of culture and its meaning, and about connections between backgrounds and spaces acquired from each artist's personal landscape, become pictures with no owner that may also belong to the world of someone else. In its totality, Faces consists of one hundred visual stories, and metaphors about uniqueness, immortality, and representation. Ultimately, it reveals an unparalleled history of unexplored richness of Cuban and American contemporary culture. Cardenes' photographs are homages to the resilience and vitality of artists from Cuba outside its borders.  

To see more photographs by Carlos Manuel Cardenes, click here.