Habana libre (Free Cuba)—this expression isn’t often heard by Americans. But what’s happening ninety miles from Miami? Photographer Michael Dweck captures the essence of Cuba’s creative culture in his new exhibition Michael Dweck: Habana Libre, on view at the Fototeca de Cuba in Havana until March 24, 2012. The works evoke a timeless and contemporary class of writers, models, artists, and creatives who are defining today’s and tomorrow’s Cuba.
The recent opening was free to anyone, no door list; the museum expected about 400 guests and over 2,300 people came, the largest turn-out in the museum’s history. The rum poured, the cigars lit, and the opening soared. Press, artists, writers, pats, ex-pats—an elegant and sexy crowd mixed and mingled, discussing the photographs.
Attendees included Cuban artists Carlos Quintana, Rachel Valdez, Roberto Fabelo, Alex Castro, and Camilo Guevara; model Januaria Mora; writers Miguel Barnet and Leonardo Padura; filmmakers Pichi and Pavel Giroud; DJ Joy; Cuban cultural ministers; Swedish, Spanish, French, and Italian ambassadors; and international collectors from Paris, Milan, London, Miami, and New York. The opening and afterparty were catered by celebrity chef Sarah Saunders, who flew in from London—the list goes on and on.
The substance, sexiness, and sincerity were unprecedented, a monumental moment. To top it all off, the artist, the first American invited to have a solo show in the museum, announced that he was donating all the photographs (ninety photographs printed on a specially developed craft paper and valued at over $500,000) to the Fototeca de Cuba Museum and to the Cuban people.
Get your visa and visit the exhibition. If this isn’t possible, no worries; photographs are available for purchase, and the book, also titled Michael Dweck: Habana Libre, includes the photographs and intimate interviews with the subjects.