This multi-layered portrait of “the violet isle”—a little-known name for Cuba inspired by the rich color of the soil there—presents an engaging, at times unsettling document of a vibrant and vulnerable land. It combines two separate photographic visions: Alex Webb’s exploration of street life, with his attuned and complex attention to detail, and Rebecca Norris Webb’s fascination with the unique, quixotic collections of animals she discovered there, from tiny zoos and pigeon societies to hand-painted natural history displays and quirky personal menageries. The result is an insightful and intriguing blend of two different aesthetics inspired by Cuba’s existence over the last fifty years in an economic, political, cultural and ecological bubble virtually untouched by the rest of the world, and unlikely to remain that way for much longer.
About the Artists
Alex Webb is best known for his vibrant and complex color work, especially from Latin America and the Caribbean. He has published seven books, including Crossings and Istanbul, and has shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the High Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. He became a full member of Magnum Photos in 1979. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 to continue photographing in Cuba.
Rebecca Norris Webb, originally a poet and journalist, had her first NYC solo exhibition at Ricco Maresca Gallery in 2006, the same year her first book, The Glass Between Us, was published. Her series, which uses text and images to explore the complicated and vulnerable relationship that exists between people and animals in cities, has also been included in several group exhibitions, including “Why Look at Animals?” at the George Eastman House Museum of Photography. Her project was awarded sponsorship by the Blue Earth Alliance. Currently, she’s working on a series of photographs in the American West called, “My Dakota.”
About the Author
Pico Iyer is a British-born essayist and novelist of East Indian descent who is currently based in Japan. A regular columnist for Time magazine since 1986, he has also written for Harper’s, The Financial Times, The New York Times, The New Yorker. He has written over ten books, including Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, & the Search for Home (2000), Sun after Dark: Flights into the Foreign (2004) and most recently, The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (2008).