The St. Petersburg Museum of History wants residents’ personal photos of Cuba for their upcoming exhibit “Experience Cuba.”
The multi-faceted exhibition, which opens June 15, will include photography by Clyde Butcher, artwork from Cuban artists and now photos from the Tampa Bay community.
Executive director, Rui Farias, said the original idea for the exhibit was to showcase Butcher’s work.
“It is not your typical Cuban photo exhibit, it’s not your ‘57 Chevys or Havana or anything like that, it’s actually the unbelievable, beautiful countryside of Cuba and his photography is magnificent,” he said.
Farias and his committee began thinking what they could add to it and that’s when the idea of including current Cuban artists such as Ibrahim Miranda and Los Carpinteros was born. The final element to “Experience Cuba,” was the community aspect.
“We thought what a cool idea if we can get people to send in their photographs to talk about the current culture of Cuba,” Farias said.
Local Cubans, Jillian Garcia and Bobby Caballero said if they were to submit photos of their homeland, they’d want them to be of places they really enjoy.
For Caballero, manager of La Tropicana Cafe in Tampa's Ybor City, his photo would be of his favorite beach, Punta Garda la Barca.
“The beach. It’s beautiful,” he said. “You can see like three colors, the water is like three colors, light blue, dark blue, more green. I’ve got beautiful pictures in my mind.”
“I have a lot of pictures of Havana and the Old Havana, it’s the place where a lot of tourists want to visit because it’s the history of Cuba,” she said.
Since it is a history museum, Farias said he wants to know the stories behind the photos they receive; especially the ones that are from the pre-Fidel Castro era.
“We want stories,” he said. “We want people who lived in Cuba in the pre-Castro era to send in photographs and stories about what life was like growing up there before they came to the United States.”