Photo by: Michael Christopher Brown
Revealing complexities both on and off the island, Cuba Is explores aspects of Cuba not easily accessed by foreigners, and sometimes not even by Cubans themselves. Born from indigenous, African and European roots, divergent politics and limitations in communication and commerce, the Cuba seen in this exhibition goes beyond the folklore and offers new insight into its current reality. Over 120 photos feature subjects ranging from defiant youth known as “frikis” to the hard-partying children of the 1%, the underground system of sharing digital content—“El paquete”—to Miami’s Chonga girls.
Cuba Is also includes archival images and work done on assignment by five featured photographers: Elliott Erwitt, Leysis Quesada, Raúl Cañibano, Tria Giovan and Michael Dweck. An original documentary film—produced by the Annenberg Foundation—follows these photographers as they capture unseen images of life in Havana and beyond.
Complementing this rare, immersive look into Cuban life is a virtual reality experience that delves into Cuba’s current dynamic music scene, allowing visitors to virtually stroll along the storied Malecón.
Work from Violet Isle: A Duet of Photographs from Cuba, by Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, will be featured in an outdoor exhibit adjacent to the Photo Space. The photos bring together Alex’s exploration of the streets of Cuba along with Rebecca’s discovery of unique collections of animals throughout the island.
We are also proud to present a limited menu of specialties from legendary local Cuban mainstays Porto’s Bakery & Café and Café La Llave in the Doña Dulce café as an extension of the Cuba Is experience.
Additionally, Annenberg Space for Photography’s Skylight Studios presents RESOLVIENDO, an interactive installation revealing the creative drive of the Cuban people.
The Cuba Is exhibit is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.
Bringing your family? Download our Family Activity guide here or ask for one at the front desk.
Stories Behind the Photographs
- The small town of Amarillas is not characterized by rodeo culture, but on this particular day, the cowboys used the few resources available to them to spontaneously organize a sporting event.
Leysis Quesada VeraView profile
- Chino was drunkenly stumbling in the street at the end of one of his usual long nights out with friends and felt the urge to rest on a chair placed outside someone’s door.
Michael Christopher BrownView profile
- Victorino Rodríguez, one of the most famous crocodile hunters in the area, is the star of the town. He poses for the camera, carrying a crocodile on his shoulder like a designer bag.
Raúl CañibanoView profile
- This outdoor terrace of a residential building becomes a neighborhood beauty salon despite government restrictions on privately owned businesses and severe shortages throughout the 1990s.
Tria GiovanView profile
- Ashenal—whose real name is Gilberto—is described by González as a stylish, handsome, slender twenty-one-year old experiencing the challenges of the gender reassignment process.
Claudia GonzàlezView profile