portfolio > Cuba + Puerto Rico | Invitación a Volar

"I don't rely on mirrors, so I always take Polaroids."
"I don't rely on mirrors, so I always take Polaroids."

A necessary act of re-photography.

SX-70 Polaroids in cartridge frames

3.5 x 4.25 in (8.89 x 10.80 cm) each

"One weekend at Nikita's datcha, Fidel took some photos with a Polaroid camera. Nikita [Khrushchev] asked where this magical device had come from. With a beaming smile, Fidel replied: 'Boston Massachusetts'..."

- Alberto Korda, Fidel's photographer, circa 1963

"When we have fulfilled our promise of good government, I will cut my beard. You can be surely [sic], that Batista is--will be the last dictator of Cuba."

- Fidel Castro, speaking to representatives of American television: Edward R. Murrow and Ed Sullivan, 1959

The Polaroids on display become a way for me to challenge some of the failings of the Cuban Revolution, albeit in a much more nuanced way than my conservative exile-community upbringing would have allowed. While a success in many ways (especially in providing aid to foreign, anti-colonial struggles), I feel the revo ultimately reproduced many of the very hierarchical and oppressive systems it was supposed to have overthrown.
In light of this, the Polaroid camera becomes a reflexive vehicle with which to point out rhetorical inconsistencies from the Cuban leader. It is amusing to me, knowing Castro’s staunch anti-Imperialist and anti-North American position, to imagine the delight Nikita Khrushchev and he must have shared as they played with this “magical device” together, knowing full well its Yanqui origins.

The titular quote is taken from the 1995 film Clueless

also exhibited: @ Swell: A Flat File and Installation Exhibition at GRIN gallery in Providence, RI
and @ (e)merge art fair in Washington, D.C., for which I participated in NLS Kingston's podcast series: IN, a conversation between James Cooper, Stephanie Cormier, Deborah Anzinger, and myself.
the piece was named "Best Meta-Photo" by the Washington City Paper in their Best of the Fest feature.

now in the private collection of Annie Gawlak, Director of G Fine Art in Washington, D.C.