Film culture: Jo Farrell – Cuba
Introducing Cuba, an exhibition of Jo’s original 16” x 20” limited edition silver gelatin prints, printed by Jo Farrell for her new exhibition, which runs in Hong Kong From November 15-28th 2015 – only a few days left.
Images featured in the exhibition were taken over a period of one month from December 2001 to January 2002 and capture street life in Cuba.
Best to hand over to Jo at this point for a detailed description of the journey that led to this exhibition:
In December 2001 I arrived in Havana and over the next four weeks I travelled overland by bus and 1950 Chevy to Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, Trinidad and Remedios, documenting the streets and culture of Cuba. Each place was unique in its structure and its environment, and the people were extremely welcoming and genuine. There is rhythm in their every move.
Most people in Cuba have just enough to survive on but it is a struggle. Food is rationed, and items that we may consider readily accessible such as clothes, soap, books, pencils, medicine, make-up, petrol and car parts are in short supply. Store shelves are extremely bare and yet there are queues outside shops for the sparse provisions. In certain shops there is a limit to the amount of people that are even allowed inside at one time.
Tourism is probably Cuba’s biggest source of income and it becomes overtly apparent to Cubans that there is a different way of life in wealthier countries, when they are exposed to visitors with all the trappings of a more affluent lifestyle, clearly out of reach of most Cubans.
Other photographs in this series from Santiago de Cuba include the photograph of the driver who lived in the neighbouring house to the Casa Particular I stayed at. This kind man drove man drove me around the city in his car.
Cuba was and is a beautiful place, where what the people lack in materialism is more than tripled or quadrupled in their enthusiasm and joie de vie or alegria de vidal—something that the more affluent areas in the world have forgotten how to achieve without putting on a price tag.
From the exhibition
San Francisco de Assis Convent in old Havana (Le Habana Vieja) was the site of the first Franciscan monastic orders to arrive in Cuba and was constructed around 1575. In the late 17th Century, Havana suffered a terrible hurricane, which caused extensive damage to the Convent, including the loss of the tower. The tower was rebuilt and enlarged in 1730, and at the beginning of the 18th Century the main chapel was demolished to make way for a vaulted transept, shown in the picture.
I had climbed the bell tower and as I peered out of one of the arches, a workman was about to walk across the vaulted roof, within frames he had disappeared.
About the exhibition
When: 15-28 November 2015 daily, open until late.
Where: @ GiG, Ground Floor, Ovolo Southside, 64 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, Southside, Hong Kong (http://www.ovolohotels.com)
About Jo Farrell
You’ll have read about Jo in her recent EMULSIVE interview. She is a documentary photographer and cultural anthropologist capturing traditions and cultures before they are completely eradicated. She was born in London, England and is currently based in Hong Kong. Her new book Living History: Bound Feet Women of China documents and celebrates the lives of the last remaining women in China with bound feet.
In the past year Jo’s project has been showcased on the BBC (Impact TV and news website), CNN (Kristie Lu Stout), The Smithsonian, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, SCMP, Time Out, Stern, Localiiz, HK Magazine, Vanity Fair, FastCo., and many more. She is the recipient of many awards including a Jacob Riics, Center for Fine Art Photography, Women in Photography and Black & White Spider Awards.
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