By Ashley J. Martinez (Sophmore Honor Student)
Several students are finding themselves in a wonderland as they enter the revolving door of USF’s Contemporary Art Museum. It is the profound and meaningful La enmienda que hay en mi (Making amends) exhibit by Carlos Garaicoa. The exhibit is a display that is a wondrous in it’s truth and brutal honesty of social and political issues many choose to be ignorant to. Garaicoa’s blunt commentary of life in Cuba through photographs and haiku is painfully touching, as well as exquisite in it’s architectural presentation.
As you enter the exhibit a series of photographs await displaying store fronts and their marquee. Garaicoa manipulates the marquee into a full personal statement by weaving thread around needles on top the photograph. What occurs is an almost transparent statement on a high contrast black and white photo. As light casts a shadow on the photograph from the raised pins and threat, it appears that these words become part of the photograph–a medium gray shadow marrying with storefront sign seen in the photo below.
The parallel wall consists of a black and white photograph of a dilapidated building saying, “De Vida con Fidel,” which translates “For Life With Fidel,” is located on the opposite wall. Beside it is a blue print sketch of the same building covered in vines with a metal structure raising high towards the sky as the structure becomes shackled by the vines. The metaphor I see is how structure can oppress a foundation under it’s odd composition and weight and remain strong as it becomes shelter for birds and other creatures.
Within a dimly lit hallway is a series of miniature recreations of famous buildings beneath plexiglass. Each building is created and given a description only using the information found through the censored internet in Cuba.
The exhibit departs from the serious with an element of fun in the creation of miniature architectural structures made out of paper. When one usually throws away the scraps of the paper Garaicoa keeps the cutout of the paper structures. Interestingly you get to see where the structures came from as well as the small ration of paper that was used to create it.