The Cuban Evolution captures the Cuban people’s trepidation and excitement over economic reforms that are changing Cuba’s direction from a Soviet-style economic system to one that more closely resembles that of China or Vietnam. Fifty-five years after the Cuban Revolution, this group of Silicon Valley photographers captured images of Cuban life at a historic turning point. Thirty photographs by thirteen photographers are on display at the Krause Center for Innovation (KCI) Gallery through Feb. 28. Admission is free; parking is $3.
During a two-week professional research trip to Cuba led by Foothill Photography Instructor Ron Herman, the photographers, many of whom are associated with Foothill College, captured images of Cuban life on the cusp of change. Some photographers were visiting Cuba for the first time, while others were all drawn back to witness firsthand the visible changes that haven taken shape since their first trip.
“It is an amazing place to visit and revisit to watch the metamorphosis of the Cuban country as the technology and computers become part of their daily lives,” said Julia Gary, who has traveled with Herman twice to Cuba. “Even though access is limited, the Cubans are becoming familiar with social media through computers.”
Returning for her second visit to Cuba, Melinda Miller noted that “while walking along the Malecon and through various neighborhoods on this trip, it was clear that the lid had been lifted to some degree on commercial activity. Almost any crevice of space was buzzing with new commercial ventures—small cafes, clothing stores offering local and foreign products, appliance repairs, even puppies for sale.”
“The changes are so interesting to monitor on a yearly basis,” said Herman, “although the free market is limited, it has had a big impact on the lives of many Cubans.” Bill Scull from the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies returned to Cuba for his third time. He noted that “some small businesses that we saw open up last year weren’t successful and had already closed down, while others who found a way to survive with limited supplies and clientele, were enjoying and displaying their new financial success in interesting ways.”
Relationships established through prior visits afforded the photographers the opportunity to explore beyond the traditional tourist destinations, including photo walks with Cuban photographers, visits to art and ballet schools, and cultural exchanges with Cuba’s leading artists. The group travelled outside Havana to various provinces, exploring both the rural and urban landscape.
Exhibitors are Carla Bohnett, Loren Bohnett, Sheila Botein, Allen Gary, Julia Gary, Ron Herman, Bob Hills, Kathy McGovern, Melinda Miller, Aphra Pia, Bill Scull, Bob Thomsen and Don Wheatley.
The exhibit is located in the KCI Gallery, on the lower level of the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College 12345 El Monte Road in Los Altos Hills. Gallery hours are 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.
Parking Lot 4 provides the best access to the gallery. A parking permit is required at all times. Purchase permit for $3 at dispensers in any student lot. Dispensers accept one-dollar bills and quarters.
For more information on the exhibit and the experience of photographing in Cuba, view the exhibit blog, TheCubanEvolution.wordpress.com.