Art Book and Exhibition
Curated by MARISA CAICHIOLO
2017 / 2018
“Images of Resilience: the Jewish People of Cuba” is the title of a photography book conceived by Martin Cohen that will explore and document today’s Jewish community in Cuba and its social and cultural transformation through time. The book will be part of a larger initiative, also showcasing a series of international traveling photo exhibits.
The book will feature intimate portraits of Jewish families at their homes, in wedding celebrations, performing religious services in synagogues, in Bar Mitzvah ceremonies, in congregations and during holidays in order to create a sense of collective identity.
Even though Cuba’s Jewish community has decreased from a peak of 15,000 to today’s 1,500, Cohen’s work will also show the vast diversity in the island’s small Jewish population, whose members have come from different lands, life paths, ethnic backgrounds and hold divergent viewpoints on different issues.
The artist’s ultimate goal is to confront the audience on highly divisive subject matters such as religion and to make the viewer reflect on the concepts of liberty and freedom in a unique land like Cuba, which last year renewed diplomatic relations with the United States.
The recent changes in Cuba’s political landscape and the thawing of US-Cuban relations will also reflect in the photo narrative: Cuba’s Jews have witnessed and welcome the arrival of new Jewish visitors – relatives, friends and tourists – to the island.
The book will be the starting point of an international traveling exhibit and an educational program, both of which will explore the revival of Jewish traditions in Cuba and the strength of this community’s sense of collective identity.