Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art + Design Presents the inaugural Exhibition at the new Cultural Legacy Gallery, Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres
MOAD - Cuban Diaspora Celia L
Credit: Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in collaboration with Tico Torres
Miami, July 28, 2014 - The Museum of Art + Design (MOAD) at Miami Dade College (MDC) presents Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres. The inaugural exhibition will open to the public at 6 p.m. Friday, September 19, at the new Cultural Legacy Gallery, a permanent space dedicated to the impact of Cuban culture on South Florida and throughout the world, housed at the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College in Downtown Miami. Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in collaboration with Tico Torres features what have become iconic photographs of Cuban figures living outside the island, among them performers, composers, designers, writers and artists. The Cuba Out of Cuba series was shot over the last twenty years in Miami, New York, London, Paris, Florence, Venice and Los Angeles. The exhibition will take a unique and historical approach in surveying the legacies of individuals such as Celia Cruz, Bebo Valdez, Gloria Estefan, Cristina Saralegui, Andy Garcia, Cundo Bermudez, Nilo Cruz, and Paquito d’Rivera, among other Cubans who have influenced the greater culture of their time.
Alexis Rodríguez-Duarte was born in Havana, Cuba. In 1968 he and his parents were among Cuban exiles who left the Island aboard the humanitarian air lifts called the Freedom Flights. Once arriving to Miami, his family and many thousands of other Cuban exiles came through the doors of the Freedom Tower that served as a processing and assistance center for the exile community. For many, the tower provided nothing less than their freedom from Castro and the hardships Cuba had come to give them, rightly earning its name of the Freedom Tower. Rodriguez–Duarte’s family settled in Miami’s Little Havana community. At the age of 10, he was given his first camera by his grandfather, which led to his love affair with photography. Today, he is a New York and Miami-based internationally renowned photographer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Town & Country, and Harper’s Bazaar, among other major publications, and has exhibited his work at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., Museum of the City of New York, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and The Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach among others.
Rodriguez-Duarte and his husband of 31 years, Tico Torres, have been documenting the Cuban diaspora since 1993. Torres, a photo stylist who is a master of the mise-en-scene, helped create with Rodriguez-Duarte the joyous image of Celia Cruz standing amid the towering palms of Fairchild Tropical Garden in a traditional ruffled Cuban gown. He was also there to set the mood in the London flat of Guillermo Cabrera Infante, one of Cuba’s most famous authors. Torres and his family were also among Cuban exiles who settled in Miami’s Hialeah community. Rodriguez-Duarte and Torres are thrilled to be returning together, full circle to the historic Freedom Tower for this inaugural exhibit, after separately setting foot there as immigrant children so many years before.
The inaugural exhibition kicks off the Museum’s fall season scheduled for Friday, September 19, 2014 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. in conjunction with SIDE BY SIDE: MDCULTURE STANDS AS ONE, a one night event held at the College’s historic Freedom Tower, featuring performances, exhibitions, film screenings, the public unveiling of 2014 Book Fair Poster, and the long awaited Cuban Exile Experience at the Freedom Tower. Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres will remain on display at the museum through August 30, 2015. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.
MDC’s Freedom Tower was operated by the U.S. Government as a reception center for Cuban refugees from 1962 to 1974. “The building is significant because it represents the important story of the Cuban exodus to America and resettlement during the Cold War,” reports the U.S. Department of the Interior, which has also called the Freedom Tower the “Ellis Island of the South.” Though it operated in that capacity for only 12 years, the building has become an icon representing the faith that democracy brought to troubled lives, the generosity of the American people and a hopeful beginning that assured thousands a new life in a new land.
WHAT: Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres
WHEN: Friday, September 19 –Opening Reception from 6 – 9 p.m.
September 19, 2014 – August 30, 2015
Museum Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
WHERE: MDC Museum of Art + Design
Cultural Legacy Gallery
The Freedom Tower at MDC, First Floor
600 Biscayne Blvd.
About MDC Museum of Art + Design
MDC Museum of Art + Design (MOAD) is Miami Dade College’s flagship institution dedicated to the presentation and exhibition of visual art and design, housed at the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College in Downtown Miami. The mission of the Museum is to promote the appreciation and understanding of art and its role in society through direct engagement with original works of art from within the College’s extensive permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. Furthermore, the Museum presents year-round lectures, symposiums and art related events to expose, educate and engage the greater public through related creative processes.
The MDC Museum of Art + Design provides its patrons and visitors access to unique cultural, historical and educational exhibitions that enrich the greater community while building and preserving an expansive permanent art collection. Miami Dade College has been collecting art since the 1960s. Over the years, the collection has grown contain more than 1,600 works in all mediums and genres, specifically within the movements of minimalism, pop art of the ’60s and ’70s, conceptual art and contemporary Latin American art. The College and Museum actively acquire works by emerging and under-recognized artists, as well as major figures in modern, post-modern and contemporary art.
About The Cuban Exile Experience & Cultural Legacy Gallery
The Cuban Exile Experience & Cultural Legacy Gallery is a historical division of the MDC Museum of Art + Design. In addition to visual arts, the Museum supports exhibitions and programs that collect, preserve, research and interpret stories and artifacts that help build a better community understanding and appreciation of the Freedom Tower’s history.
For more information about the exhibition, events or VIP Opening Reception at MDC Museum of Art + Design, please contact the Museum at 305-237-7722 or email@example.com.
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Maria de los Angeles Hernandez Valero
Maria de los Angeles's Story
I came to the US with my younger brother Nicolas Pablo who was 10 years of age at the time, and I was 12. As soon as we arrived in Miami, we were taken to The Florida City Camp where we stayed until April 1962, when we were sent to live in a foster home with an American family, the Goodwin's in Lake Charles, LA. Pat and Ernest Goodwin had 2 children of their own, Marie Therese and Michael. This wonderful American family were very good to us. We were treated as part of the family. Pat and Ernest asked us to call them Tío and Tía, a very subtle way of letting us know that they could never take the place of our parents. On my 13th birthday, 4 months after we arrived from Cuba, they took us to Disneyland and Hollywood, it was a dream come through for me since I had always wanted to visit these two places. We lived with the Goodwin's for one year, when we were reunited with our parents and our little sister Teresita Victoria in New Orleans, LA. We will always remember this kind and loving American family, and we will always keep them in our prayers. My family settled in New Orleans, and little by little many of our relatives came from Cuba to live with us (grandparents, paternal aunts and uncle).
I have a story that I want to share with all of you. On August 8, 1963, my dad, Celso M. Hernández Machado, went to Canal St. in downtown New Orleans, looking for a job. When he got off the bus, he encountered an American man with a sign that read "Fair Play for Cuba", this man was no other than Lee Harvey Oswald, who 3 months later in Nov. 1963 was accused of killing JFK (John F. Kennedy). As it was expected, my dad became very upset because Oswald was backing-up the Castro regime, imagine a newly arrived Cuban refugee meeting a pro-Castro activist. Since my dad did not speak English, thus was not able to communicate with Oswald he decided to go to a friend's store located in Decatur St. two block away to ask him if he could go with him to find Oswald and translate what he wanted to tell him. Immediately, my dad's friend Carlitos Bringuier and another Cuban named Miguel Cruz, who was at the store, decided to go with my dad to Canal St. to find Oswald. Oswald had moved from the location where my dad had seen him, thus, the three of them got on the Canal St. streetcar to see if they could locate Oswald. Once they found him, they got off the streetcar and my dad did not even wait for Carlitos to talk to Oswald, he immediately hit Oswald and took the sign away from him. They both struggle and within a few minutes the police came. Oswald, Carlitos, Miguel and my dad were taken to jail for disturbing the peace. To make the study short, the 4 of them spent the night in jail. The following day, the judge found Oswald guilty, and charged him with a $25 fine for disturbing the peace. Now, when I look back at the incident, it was funny that Oswald was the one who was fined for disturbing the peace, and not my dad since my dad was the one who started the altercation. My dad was the most anti- communist person I have ever met, and a very passionate Cuban patriot, who wanted for his country to be free from the Castro dictatorship. That was the reason why he became so upset and furious when he saw that Oswald was trying to defend such a bloody and undemocratic regime. After the JFK assassination, many stories have been written about the encounter my dad had with Oswald, many of these stories are not factual. Even the portrayal of the encounter of the Cubans with Oswald in the JFK movie by Oliver Stone was erroneously portrayed. Of course, Stone would have never sided with the struggle of the Cuban nation, since he is an admirer of Castro and Chávez, that is the reason why he portrayed the Cuban exiles in his movies as mere low class criminals. I have made a promise to myself that one day I will write the true story of what really happened when my dad met Oswald in Canal St. three months before the JFK assassination.
Now, let me briefly tell you what has become of me. In 1974 I moved from New Orleans to Miami, where I worked at the Cuban Refugee Center until Nov. 1979 when I moved to Boston. In 1981, I was awarded a scholarship at The New School for Social Research in NYC, where I lived until 1986, when I decided to relocate to Houston, Texas where I obtained a job teaching at the University of Houston - Clear Lake. In 1995, I received a doctoral degree in Public Health from The University of Texas, and after graduation was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship by the National Cancer Institute at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. During the last 15 years, I have been a faculty member at this institution, conducting health disparities and cancer prevention research in the area of environmental health and childhood obesity among children of Mexican origin. In 2009, I was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to conduct cancer prevention research at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México in Toluca, where I am currently an invited professor. When I retire, which should be very soon, I plan to spend the rest of my life writing, and making sure that our struggle, that is the struggle of the Cuban people is truly told.