Elizabeth Matheson Provides a Glimpse of Modern Cuba at Craven Allen Gallery | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Elizabeth Matheson Provides a Glimpse of Modern Cuba at Craven Allen Gallery

Posted by on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 1:28 PM


click to enlarge "The Conversation" by Elizabeth Matheson - COURTESY OF CRAVEN ALLEN GALLERY
  • Courtesy of Craven Allen Gallery
  • "The Conversation" by Elizabeth Matheson
Since the U.S. loosened American travel restrictions to Cuba, boutique hotels, Wi-Fi hot spots, and restaurants have popped up in Havana. Tourists flock to the country in hopes of getting there before the arrival of McDonald’s or KFC. But the Americanization of Cuba is not a concern for North Carolinian photographer Elizabeth Matheson.

“The Cubans have such a proud sense of their own identity that they are going to remain Cuban no matter what,” Matheson says.

From October 1 through November 5, her photography collection, Cuba Now, will be on exhibit at the Craven Allen Gallery, portraying the boldness and complexity of Cuba.

Her photos capture the very things that most tourists miss. While the average visitor would eye the books or furniture in the Hemingway House, Matheson snapped photos in the bathroom. An especially transfixing photo of toilet paper rolls, a bowl of change, a deep blue wall, and a red table hangs in the gallery. Not only do the colors almost perfectly mimic the Cuban flag, the photo demonstrates that even the most popular tourist destinations maintain local customs, like a fee for toilet paper.

From rooftops and purple scooters to boys at play and beautiful beaches, the works in Cuba Now depict a variety of subjects. They capture the contrast Matheson saw between images of melancholy and enchantment, acting as windows into a world that is irrepressibly Cuban.

“People have hard lives, but there is such resilience, radiant resilience,” Matheson says.

Cuba persevered in the aftermath of the Cold War and the U.S. embargo. This resiliency will not falter simply because a few more tourists will be walking along the streets of Havana.

Matheson intends for her photos to be bold and honest portrayals of a culture that espouses the qualities of boldness and honesty.

“Many of these pieces, they have these really interesting moments in time,” gallery owner John Bloedorn says. “If she waited another five minutes, or one minute, who knows? Everything about the composition would change.”

Matheson’s photos force viewers to pay attention to the details of Cuban life, from the parrot in the corner of El Campesino’s window to the barely visible ensemble of cats on a rooftop at dawn.

The Cuba Matheson portrays in her photos isn't likely to be subsumed by America's cheap-eats culture any time soon. Although globalization has leaked into nearly every country on Earth, Matheson knows that Cuba is just a little too resilient to worry that American fast-food joints will appear on every corner.

Tags: , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

...as did I, Ms. Margolis -- in a very small handful of moments over a two and a half hour …

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

I certainly heard the accents.

by Elizabeth A Margolis on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

...as did I, Ms. Margolis -- in a very small handful of moments over a two and a half hour …

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

I certainly heard the accents.

by Elizabeth A Margolis on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

Nice write up. Love the twists and turns and I hardily agree with the ultimate statement (and Camus since I …

by Perry on As the Durham Bulls Enter the Playoffs, We Wonder: What Exactly Is the Value of a Minor-League Championship? (Arts)

Just saw this last night. Did Rubin say that being around the Avetts would make life "matter" or just that …

by Drew Rhys on Full Frame: An Avetts Agnostic Finds Some Faith in May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers (Arts)

She made me a peanut butter and banana sandwichwithout bread. Now that's art.

by Geoff Dunkak on ADF Review: Queering Objects and Decoding the Body in Cherdonna's Clock that Mug or Dusted (Arts)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation