In today’s world of globalization coming along with growing economic and social disparity between countries, the island at the junction of continents is often seen in nostalgic dreams as a utopia of freedom, revolution and independence.

After Cuba had lost еconomical support from the USSR in 1990, its government stimulated programs supporting tourism, which since that time has become one of the country’s major income sources. How to choose the best cigars, where is Hemingway’s favorite bar located, where to catch old American Rolls-Royces to take a selfie? — these are just about the questions that tourist-oriented culture provides answers to.

The exhibition Shifting Metaphors: Cuba in Changing Times, on the contrary, shows Cuban society from within, through the eyes of the locals — the local artists. “Every Cuban is an artist, every house is an art gallery”, wrote art historian Rachel Weiss, describing in a nutshell the specificity of Cuban cultural context. Cuban society is a melting pot of ethnicities and confessions. Spanish and African influences, separated in the colonial past of the country, merged over time, forming a heterogenous, lively and hospitable culture, which the exhibition attempts to show from various perspectives.

The authentic island state, surviving in the ocean of global capitalism, is on the verge of another revolutionary turn, when the future is unpredictable again. The country has two official currencies, the longest-ruling non-royal national leader in history of humankind, and high inequality index. The spread of Internet access and legalization of small and medium-sized private businesses opens new horizons. How strong is the wind of change and how dramatic the consequences may be? The experience of the Castro’s government proved that any country, however small and poor it is, can live the way they want to. But what is the price of this empirical proof? Using an arsenal of methods, such as collage, montage, animation, documentary and multimedia experiments, the artists deny that there are singular possible scenarios of the past, present and future, and invite viewers from the country with a somewhat similar historical experience to participate in a dialogue.

Artists Adrian Fernández Milanés, Arien Chang Castán, Carlos Otero, Enrique Rottenberg, Humberto Mayol, Jennifer J. Rico, Jorge Otero,  Jorge Luis Alvarez Pupo, Jorge Valiente, José Agráz, Leysis Quesada Vera, Liudmila & Nelson, Michel Pou Diaz, Raúl Cañibano, Rene Peña, Ricardo G. Elias, Sandra Ramos, VAX, Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo

Organizers ROSPHOTO State Museum and Exhibition Centre & Fototeca de Cuba with support from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation

Curators Nelson Ramirez de Arellano Conde (Fototeca de Cuba), Yana Mikhalina (ROSPHOTO)