miércoles, 31 de marzo de 2010
Eliana Ajo, Art Director of the Teatro Comandante “Eddy Suñol”, has devoted 45 years to the Cuban scene. Her lifetime work as an actress, noteworthy for the Holguín culture, is acknowledged due to her highly credits related to the theater World.Eleana Ajo was granted last Saturday evening The “Alberto Dávalos” Award that stands for the highest distinction given in Holguín to actors or actresses to acknowledge a professional life devoted to theatre. Eleana Ajo was given the Award amid the applause and joy of colleagues and students.
martes, 9 de marzo de 2010
The grandmother’s mother, a fat and white-haired madam, like the Russian refrigerator she had first than any in the family, was a sensitive woman. Although she feigned a strong character, tinged with certain humor and good imagination, she looked, according to my child vision, a sentimental woman, face-steeled because of the time she lived in a place once called Tacámara, far away from the present-day Holguín.
I knew about her sensitive spirit by chance one day when I stepped into her room and I discovered the photo in a small wooden frame, shielded by a nylon bag if I remember well. The girl in the portrait held in her arms a wooden piece resembling a toy. She had big eyes and the face, innocent, discovered her possible distrust towards the one taking the snapshot in front of her.
As the girl in the photo would be the age that I was in those days I felt attracted by her image. I found her funny, simple, pretty as girls are for all children. I possibly even felt a tickling sensation of infantile love and swore sometime than she, the girl in the photo, only watched by those allowed in the room, was my girlfriend. The photo of the girl holding the wooden piece turned an obsession.
After I grew up, enough to be almost sure that the girl in the photo was not my own great-grandmother, that is, my grandmother's mother keeping her own image amid two or three Saint's images and the images of some small angels inside a plate to crown a shrine. I thought that having a picture taken was that easy for somebody who had spent her life in the countryside beginning the XX century, as it was for me in the eighties’.
I was then seven or eight years old. I lived unaware of those days when the Soviet Union seemed our best friend; and although it was a distant country, it was sort of dream that made some achievements come true such as the ones belonging to my neighbor Guanchi who, after going away to study I do not know to what socialist Germany, came back with a Suzuki motorcycle with no roads here to drive on. Guanchi was made into our hero (dearer than Flipper, or the
My grandmother's mother had then a son living in the
I ignore what happened with the portrait after my grandmother's mother death. What I definitely know is the great intensity of my surprise the day I ran into that image that I believed so familiar. I was searching in some old newspapers and suddenly, the girl, with all the brusqueness I had acquired in my adulthood, emerged from the paper pages. I was an adult, a well-made man, as the phrase goes, while she continued to be a girl. She had remained unchanged to time thanks to Korda's lens, the true author of this portrait.
That day, when I discovered who the girl in the portrait really was, I felt happy: we were not family-related, but we grew up together. She had become a real and beloved person in my life and I, perhaps, had gotten stuck in the day when I met her, small, distrusted like she herself.
I reminded my mother’s grandmother. I saw her again in bed, at nights, with the eyes fixed on the portrait in the piece of newspaper on the wall. And I saw in her eyes the pain of a cruel past, and I saw death, and I saw non grown-up children. I saw the road's mud, and I saw horse footprints on the earth, and I saw frustration. That was all I saw in the photograph. Nothing more than that. Nothing else.
sábado, 6 de marzo de 2010
The Russian landscapes, its natural and exotic beauty, make up many generations of Cubans’ visual assets in a shared history with that country member of the former Soviet Union. The famous Sputnik magazine helped foster such imaginary background in those that neither studied nor worked there.
Maybe the Russian photographer Gennady Smirnov ignores this. However, he goes beyond achieving it with solid technical and aesthetic abilities in his exhibition "Northern Russia". He fills the gap linked to nostalgia. More than that, he provides us with a one of kind, original, photographic artistic project for Holguin.
Smirnov turns to landscape photography to disclose images of a great historical value besides the architectural and natural beauty of this Russian area with distinctive features – very cold most of the year. The Northern Russia’s spiritual wealth, Smirnov in between, is very well depicted in the vernacular religious constructions photographed.
The catalogue of the exhibition makes reference to that architectural mythical hedonism that sticks out through the visual language where Gennady Smirnov photographs the harmony and magnificence of monasteries around which communities rise.
Smirnov, lens meddling, manages to assimilate the traditional northern attributes related with the secularization of spiritual asceticism. The photographer accomplish it by leaving out, almost in all pictures, the human factor; but when people’s presence is unavoidable, he makes use of general or joint planes where human beings play no leading role.
The Russian artist goes for horizontal formats, expected in landscape photography, to highlight spirituality above earthly thing. It paves the way for contemplative reading in the images showing quietness and peace.
Smirnov photographs always with standard angles to keep real proportions of the environment where straight lines towered over perpendicular ones that would add an unfortunate dynamics.
Smirnov avoids wide angles that would alter the perspective or the narrow ones what would compress the image planes. He stresses so a representation of the scene just the way it is to get across a more authentic realism to his photos, to bring down real beauty as close as possible to our visual experiences.
One can also see the artist's commitment with what he wants to achieve by coming back to the same places to photograph them in the different seasons of the year where light yields in to his interests as it can be seen in the series ‘Solovki’s Sunsets” and the “Sacred Lake.”
He composes other pictures backed on natural elements as frames to give depth of field where snow makes the image looked planed.
Smirnov takes also advantage of different symbols to reveal the essence of the Russian North. He sets his lens on worn-out walls alluding old times; on the sky, spirituality here, with more volume in the frame; on the purifying whiteness of the snow; on the crosses, on the book as a vehicle of transmission of ancestral traditions; on costumes for pilgrimages what seems to bring together the citizens from this beautiful Russian North. If winter locks them in their homes, summer fosters community life; however, pilgrimages (beliefs) get them united in one or the other season.
Despite everything some incoherence and gaps call our eye. I could bear out later, and as a way to apologize Smirnov, through an informative search, that the exhibition is originally made up of 50 images instead of the 22 that are exhibited in the Holguín Art Center’s Electa Arenal room.
It should also not be overlooked they are landscape photographies whose main function is to provide visual pleasure and not necessarily the construction of a certain message although Gennady Smirnov achieves both things through a very well in-advance conceived photographic technical-aesthetic language.The exhibit means a lot on the way to promote the presence of other Russian artistic projects in the city of Holguin and to make an approach to a millennial culture that will nourish the creative wealth of local artists.