Contributed photo/Suzy Mygatt-Wakefield
                                Horquita, Cuba, 2016

Contributed photo/Suzy Mygatt-Wakefield Horquita, Cuba, 2016

View images of Cuba at San Juan Community Theatre | Guest Column | Update

Editor’s note: This event will run through Aug. 27, whereas previously it was to run through Aug. 29.

Submitted by event organizers

The art show “Viva Cuba!” runs July 10-Aug. 27, in the lobby of the San Juan Community Theatre. There will be an opening reception from 5-7 p.m., Friday, July 13 with wine and appetizers.

The show features 26 photographers and 52 photographs depicting the people and places of Cuba. The photographers include Suzy Mygatt Wakefield and Jay Wakefield of San Juan Island, as well as those from Arizona, California, Texas and other areas in Washington.

Subjects range from the well-known landmarks to a storekeeper in a tiny southeastern town; from school performers to a sunrise in Cienfuegos and tobacco farming in Vinales.

All the images were created in 2016-17 on two artist exchanges organized by Washington Stateís World Trade Exchange and led by two Vashon Island residents: photo stylist Nancy Wing and photographer and educator Ray Pfortner. WTE does not offer tours but true one-on-one artist exchanges, with a focus on meeting and creating art with local artisans.

With the open-door policy for Americans visiting Cuba under the Obama administration, there was concern that the images in the show would be commonplace by now. The 2016 group arrived just as the first U.S. cruise ship sailed south from Havana and Americans were flooding Cuba. European and Canadians were also flooding the island, fearing the wave of “Americanís” would ruin Cuba for all tourists.

By the time the second WTE photography group visited Cuba in the spring of 2017, the new administration was already casting doubt on the future of Americans visiting. A Russian, not an American, tanker entered Havana with fuel oil, and a Chinese, not an American, company was installing the cell phone system as American involvement diminished.

Today, with American travel greatly curtailed, the photographs in “Viva Cuba!” reveal a still foreign, exotic world only 90 miles off American shores and a short enough flight away that flight attendants cannot finish the drink service.

See “Viva Cuba!” to get a better understanding of the United States’ third-nearest neighbor, including the architecture and daily life and variety of people. Visit the show to also see first hand the great reception the visiting artists received and the surprisingly warm feelings Cubans have toward Americans despite all the history between them.

The “Viva Cuba!” show has been traveling for two years only to islands. In 2016, the show was featured at the Hardware Store Gallery on Vashon Island, 2018 at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center and now at the San Juan Theatre gallery. It will travel for the rest of 2018.

For info, contact raypfortner@gmail.com or 206-498-1626.

 

Contributed photo/Suzanne Pfister
                                Franigpani, Hemingway’s house Cuba, 2017

Contributed photo/Suzanne Pfister Franigpani, Hemingway’s house Cuba, 2017

Contributed photo/Jay Wakefield
                                Cuban Trogon, Tocoror 2016

Contributed photo/Jay Wakefield Cuban Trogon, Tocoror 2016

Contributed photo/Suzy Mygatt-Wakefield
                                Horquita, Cuba 2016

Contributed photo/Suzy Mygatt-Wakefield Horquita, Cuba 2016

Contributed photo/Ray Pfortner
                                Havana, Cuba

Contributed photo/Ray Pfortner Havana, Cuba

Contributed photo/Karen Wilkison
                                Taxi Driver, Havana 2016

Contributed photo/Karen Wilkison Taxi Driver, Havana 2016

Contributed photo/Katherine Morris
                                Cohiba!

Contributed photo/Katherine Morris Cohiba!

Contributed photo/Nancy Wing
                                Malecon, Havanan, Cuba May 2016

Contributed photo/Nancy Wing Malecon, Havanan, Cuba May 2016

Contributed photo/Ray Pfortner
                                Escuela Profesional de Arte Santa Clara, Cuba

Contributed photo/Ray Pfortner Escuela Profesional de Arte Santa Clara, Cuba

Contributed photo/Ray Pfortner
                                Cuban flag

Contributed photo/Ray Pfortner Cuban flag

Contributed photo/Jennifer Ritzinger
                                Cienfuegos, Cuba 2016

Contributed photo/Jennifer Ritzinger Cienfuegos, Cuba 2016

Contributed photo/Ray Pfortner
                                Horquita, Cuba May 2016

Contributed photo/Ray Pfortner Horquita, Cuba May 2016