City Center Gallery 2018: Portraits of Cuba by Lisa Di Giacomo

Saturday, June 30, 2018 to Saturday, August 4, 2018
City Center Gallery at Urban Arts Space

Reception: Thursday, July 26 | 5-6 PM
Admission is free and open to the public
Gallery is closed on July 4

Artist Statement: Portraits of Cuba

As a child, I have always been curious about other lands and cultures.  I formally studied Italian; however, I have been just as interested in those countries and cultures who speak languages similar to but different from Italian.  As a music and dance lover, I have always been especially drawn to Cuba.  A country so close, yet so far from us; a land and people so historically-entwined with us yet so isolated from us, this is the paradox that so intrigues me.

While the Obama Administration allowed for much easier access to Cuba, the Trump Administration reversed many of the initiatives, thus making it more difficult to travel to Cuba.  And then, attributing symptoms to the Cuban or Russian Governments, there were news stories claiming that Americans, primarily from the diplomatic ranks, complained of inexplicable ringing in their ears.  So, the economic upswing that Cubans were beginning to enjoy was all but eroded in a season. 

In this series of portraits, I question how Cuban citizens are coping with recently-suspended US Government assistance programs and with the end of a Castro-led government.

While I find people from Cuba to be incredibly warm and welcoming, there is an underlying and profound sense of sadness and desperation. Many face uncertain futures: work and salaries are shrinking; visas to leave are becoming more difficult to obtain; and opportunities are disappearing.

Nevertheless, Cubans have a creative, enterprising, and resourceful spirit. Instilled with a strong sense of pride for their country, they continue to hope for a brighter future.

Reflexión de la Artista: Retratos de Cuba

Desde niña, siempre tuve la curiosidad de conocer otras tierras y culturas. Yo estudié italiano formalmente; sin embargo mi interés va mas alla del italiano, yo me he interesado en los paises y culturas que hablan lenguajes similares al italiano. Siendo una amante de la musica, y danza, siempre me he sentido atraida por Cuba, un pais tan cercano, pero a la vez tan distante de nosotros, donde su tierra y su gente estan tan entrelazados historicamente a nosotros, pero a la misma vez tan aislados, y es esta paradoja que me sigue intrigando.

Aunque la Administracion de Obama nos permitió un acceso mas fácil a Cuba, la Administracion de Trump revirtió muchas de esas iniciativas, haciendo mas complicado el viajar a Cuba,  y al atribuir  síntomas a los gobiernos Cubano or Ruso. Hubo historias que aseguraron que ciudadanos Americanos, primordialmente diplomáticos, sufrieron de inexplicable zumbidos en sus oidos mientras estaban en Cuba. Esto contribuyó a que la prosperidad económica que los Cubanos empezaban a disfrutar se haya desvanecido en solamente unos meses.

En estas series de retratos, yo me pregunto como los ciudadanos de Cuba estan sobrellevando la reciente suspension de los programas de ayuda de los Estados Unidos desde el término del gobierno dirigido por Castro.

Lisa Di Giacomo Biography

Lisa Di Giacomo is a Columbus, Ohio-based photographer who specializes in event and travel photography.  Her photographs have been featured in the Ohio State Fair, Ohio Art League, Project Basho, and New York Center for Photographic Arts.  She is also a photography adjunct at Columbus State Community College where she teaches basic and advanced photography.

She received her B.A. and M.A. from Ohio State University.  She began to study photography seriously in 1998 after she bought her first SLR camera to document her trip to Italy.  Since then, she has studied at the Maine Media Workshop and received her Associates Degree in Photography from Columbus State in 2013.

Di Giacomo has always been interested in learning about other cultures and how political, historical, and economic forces shape individuals and cultures.  Her photographs often illuminate her admiration and love of other cultures.

Lisa Di Giacomo Biografia

Lisa Di Giacomo es una fotógrafa originaria de Ohio, quien se especializa en fotografía para Eventos y Viajes. Sus fotografias han sido exhibidas en La Feria del estado de Ohio -Ohio State Fair-, La Liga de Arte de Ohio, Proyecto Basho, y el Centro para Artes Fotograficas de Nueva York. Ella tambien es adjunta en el departamento de Fotografía en el Colegio de la Comunidad del estado de Columbus – Columbus State Community College-, donde ella enseña Fotografia Básica, y Avanzada.

Ella recibió su Bachillerato y Maestria en Artes de la Universidad de el estado de Ohio – Ohio State University-. Ella empezó a estudiar fotografía profesionalmente en 1998, cuando compró su primera cámara SLR para documentar su viaje a Italia. Desde entonces, ella ha estudiado en El taller de Media de Maine, y recibio su Grado Asociado del Colegio de la Comunidad del estado de Columbus -Columbus State Community College- en 2013.

Di Giacomo siempre ha estado interesada en aprender acerca de otras culturas y de como las fuerzas políticas, históricas, y económicas tienen un papel importantísimo en la formación de los individuos y sus culturas. Sus fotografias siempre tartan de iluminar su admiración y amor por otras culturas.

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