First, there is the city, Havana, strange, mysterious and unreal. These old houses with their facades so fragile manifests painted on the collapsed walls, scarred by time, and which spoke, long ago, of something better.
What is there left of hopes and dreams? A feeling of emptiness and that life is somewhere else. During my stays in Havana, I saw how my portraits little by little, spoke more and more about emptiness, always with a glance away from Cuba, perhaps in search of a beloved one far distant.
Cubans move me with their courage, pride and humour. Unfortunately too often, their eyes betray their feelings, which evokes an everyday life filled with nothing and far too many disappointed hopes long gone.
This project became an exhibition at ST Studio, in Paris, France. December 2004.
This story, I wrote more than 10 years ago and still, Havana looks pretty much the same but things have changed. Recent economic and social changes have been made due to small political changes, perhaps not much but still a step forward.
Today Cubans are allowed to run small businesses like Airbnb, there are definitely more restaurants around than before, and they can travel, even if it’s still very expensive for them, now they can! before they couldn’t leave the island.
They have access to a better telecommunication network, many people now have mobile phones and an internet network finally accessible to them, expensive but there is one! It seems like nothing for you and me, but all this has been a lifetime of waiting for Cubans…