Back to all news stories

Opening Havana

By Edward West

As we , as Americans, begin a fuller reengagement with the Cuban people, it becomes immediately apparent that the arts scene on the Island is thriving and international in scope.

Despite economic deprivation the creative spirit is alive in Cuba with a burgeoning cohort of makers who persist under difficult circumstances. Brayan Collazo is a 30 yr old, untrained in any traditional way but in love with photography. He lives with his blended family in a building deemed uninhabitable. The climb to their roof top squat is punctuated by missing steps and open communal living spaces.

Brayan’s “studio” is a desk in his mothers front room, he sleeps on the floor once all others have settled. He acquires materials from visiting photographers who leave behind random film and materials, his camera the gift of a photographer who believed he could do more with a leg up.

This exhibit is the same sort of thing: with an opportunity he will achieve great things. It is merely this recognition that prompted an investment in his work. He sells his work on the street and has very recently opened a “gallery” for the  enterprise. It is truly a boot straps sort of operation.

It is further a way to open Cuba up to others who will travel there by making available a vision of the Island and its strong core of amazing people.

Exhibition:  Habaghdad — Photography by Brayan Collazo

Through Sept. 30

Curated by Ed West

Art Lounge Gallery

Michigan Union, 530 S. State