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 Event contacts: Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director Tere Estorino Florin, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366,, media specialist Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

Miriam Tamargo Biosca

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Miriam's Story

The one thing that has stayed with me all my life was the fact that my luggage was "lost" and all those precious new new undies, socks, shorts, shoes, and dresses my mom had painstakingly purchased for my new life in the States never arrived with me. I waited weeks to no avail. Some daughter of some high-ranking henchman in Cuba no doubt was enjoying the booty while I inconsolably cried at night in some hand-me-down nightie. Life sometimes just didn't seem fair.

In fact, when I arrived my name was immediately altered. My passport had shortened my name to simply Miriam (Singular Middle Name) Tamargo> Yet as anyone who knows anything about Cuban culture is aware, one's heritage is everything, as evidenced by one's long list of last names that provide irrevocable proof of one's pedigree. Moreover, it seems up to then I had falsely believed that my middle name was Mercedes; at least that's what my parents had told me. But oh no, I found out my real name was Adelaida--an excruciatingly ugly name for a tender 9-year old girl

And my name wasn't the only thing different about me in America. Compliments of my password, I was now a day older. No charting the stars to divine my destiny for the future without a clue as to exactly when I was born left a vast void of uncertainty. Was my birthday October 17 or was it the new date, October 16?

Now, my stay in America as a Pedro Pan child was fairly tame. No horror stories. No abuse. Just my older sister, two older brothers and me traveling from Miami to Cincinnati and staying at an "orphanage" that was really more like a boarding school of sorts for kids of parents going through a divorce or tough times. There were no babies and there were but two high-schoolers: my sister and a boy who kept running away.

I went to live with the Goodman family, and my two brothers went to live with nearby families. My foster father was a Spanish professor at Xavier University and his wife was fluent in French, wore teeny bikinis to tan and complained about teachers being way underpaid. The family lived a very busy social life. Visitors from all over the world seemed to be always popping up all the time; and during the evenings, my two foster sisters and I spent a lot of time with babysitters.

Well, by the time I was 11 years-old, both my parents had arrived to the Great Promised Land, and my sister, brothers and I were on our way to Miami to reunite with them. That's when the real "fun" began. Cucarachas and jubilance for the whole family. But more about that later.

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Miriam, my condolences to you and Carmen. Abrazos para ambas. Eloísa

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Apr 16th 2013

Miriam: I'm very sorry to hear about your mother. My deepest condolences. To answer your question, I am trying to document many of the orphanages that sheltered Pedro Pan children during the early 1960s, as part of a much larger project. I am forwarding to your email address a couple of photographs of St. Aloysius. I look forward to hearing from you at your leisure. I know how difficult it must be for you at this time. I lost my mother nearly a year ago. Thanks. José Antonio Amaro Reyes

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Apr 15th 2013

Dear Miriam and Carmen: Recently I have been in touch with Sister Niklas, Archivist for the Sisters of Notre Dame of Covington, Province of Kentucky. As you might remember, they were the sisters who ran St. Aloysius Orphanage in Cincinnati at the time you and your siblings stayed there. I am trying to learn about the presence of Pedro Pans at the orphanage, which I am told added up to 9 children. Sister Niklas informs me that a Cuban couple with children (Mr. and Mrs. Roberto Fernandez), who was employed by the orphanage during 1962 through 1967, lived on the grounds in an apartment located in the laundry building adjacent to the orphanage. At the time they were hired in 1962 Sister Josilda was the administrator. From 1963 until 1967, the year they departed, Sister Rheta was the administrator. While I realize that you and your siblings were very young then and that these events took place some 50 years ago, I wonder if any of you have any recollections of the Fernandez and the sisters? Please, let me know by contacting me at I would appreciate it very much. I am a member of the Operation Pedro Pan Group History Committee. I look forward to hearing from you at your leisure. In the meantime, best wishes to all, José Antonio Amaro Reyes.

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Apr 14th 2013

Loved your story, Miriam. I understand your sentiments about the name Adelaida. That was my middle name too (only I always knew it was while I actively disliked it). I was thrilled to hear I could change my name upon becoming a US citizen, because dropping Adelaida was a big relief. Now I'll wait to hear the part of the story with jubilance and cucarachas.

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Jan 31st 2013

What a great story!! You are so much fun,dear cousin!!

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Dec 17th 2012

Miriam: ¡Bienvenida! I enjoyed reading your story so much, I'm afraid I'm going to have to hold you to your word that you will continue it at some future date. So, please, don't leave us hanging! (Incidentally, if you visit you will find a picture or two of St. Aloysius). José Antonio Amaro Reyes.

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Dec 15th 2012

Miriam has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Dec 15th 2012

Miriam has updated their profile.

Status update | Dec 15th 2012

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