With Fidel Castro’s death in November 2016, the Cuban Revolution lost its political and spiritual leader. For many Cubans, however, the utopian aspirations promoted by Castro since the 1950s wavered earlier. Cuban Photography after 1980 features images from the MFAH collection by contemporary photographers who have responded in multilayered ways to the Cuban ideals under which they were raised.
Many of these photographers started working during the explosion of creative activity in Cuba in the 1980s and continued beyond the “Special Period” of the 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union and the continued trade embargo by the United States and U.S. allies brought extreme hardship. Withdrawing from the epic themes of Castro’s regime, these artists focused instead on everyday life in introspective, metaphorical, and ambiguous works that are nevertheless concerned with greater social issues.