Print Now
Close Window

Ledyard Gallery Opening Reception: Cuba 2012

Howe Library invites you to join us for a reception for "Cuba 2012: As Seen Through the Lens of One American", an exhibition of photographs by Mort Wise, on Saturday, June 29 from 2-4 p.m. The exhibit will be on display in the Ledyard Gallery from June 29 through July 24.

Photographer Mort Wise writes:
In January of 2012 I traveled to Cuba on a Harvard University sponsored people-to-people mission. The geographically diverse group of about 25 adults spent 5 days in Havana and two days in the countryside, including the colonial city of Trinidad.

Cuba's much maligned economy and the effectiveness of the US trade embargo against the Castro regime have had significant visible impacts upon the country. A severe shortage of housing as well as building materials needed to maintain existing structures have together produced a sharp deterioration of Havana's physical colonial heritage. Like an aging dowager, one can envision its former beauty but with some studied imagination. The ubiquitous car population of vintage American classics from the 1950s is also a reminder of the Cuban economy's dire straits.

Founded in 1514, Trinidad is about 200 miles east of Havana. Its colonial charms are still quite evident - mansions of the old sugar barons, cobblestone streets, convents, churches - often dating from the 18th century. However, its beauty is somewhat marred by the evidence of low end symbols of tourism. Postcard stores and T-shirt shops have secured a small foothold here.

As an American in Cuba, I was uplifted at times, feeling genuinely welcomed by the friendliness of people in my everyday encounters. Equally, I was saddened by the economic realities quite observable in the daily routines of Cubans. Progress perhaps is in the eye of the beholder. A high rate of literacy has been accomplished but seemingly limited levels of employment opportunities exist, too.

Flying from Miami's International Airport along the southeast coast of the Florida mainland and then over the Keys one can fully appreciate how very close Cuba is to the US - only a 90 mile separation exists. It seemed that shortly after takeoff we were preparing for landing.

Close - but not really.

Date: June 29, 2013
Time: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm