binding: Hardcover, jacketed
release: Fall 2011
Cuba has a secret. One that has never been photographed, never reported in Western media and never acknowledged openly within Cuba itself.
Michael Dweck is American photographer Michael Dweckʼs exploration of a compelling aspect of Cubaʼs contradictory status in the world today. The title, like much in Cuba, has a double meaning: Free Havana and Havana is Free. This revealing and contemporary work by a visual artist adept at capturing the quiet gesture, the alluring glance and the proud and provocative pose, brings to light a secretive social order as seen from within – a position not previously attained by an outsider.
Behind the clichéd press images of vintage cars, crumbling buildings, peeling paint and a struggling unhappy people held back from progress, lays a hidden society of Cubaʼs most influential people - the creative class. It is a socially connected group of keenly observant artists, glamorous models, filmmakers, musicians and writers captured in an elaborate dance of survival and success. Their lives are a constant play of appearances; they are the privileged class in a classless society.
These Cubans are international, elegant and sophisticated. They have cars and passports in a country where travel is difficult if not impossible. They are fashionable, though Cuban couture is an oxymoron as there are few stores. They are socialists who would be lost without capitalism to sell their creative wares in the worldʼs markets. And they are the pride and flesh of Cubaʼs culture. They put their conscience on record, their art is their vision of the country.