Tria Giovan Statement

Artist Statement
I became interested in traveling to Cuba as an outcome of spending my childhood in the Caribbean. An island in such close proximity, yet so inaccessible, and so unlike other familiar places was intriguing and appealing.

My first trip to Cuba was in 1990. The diverse architecture of a sultry Havana, the enigmatic landscapes of the villages and countryside, and the people’s openness and warmth all combined for a compelling introduction. Over the next six years I returned for eleven one-month trips, traveling throughout the entire country. Exploring the island, developing relationships, and witnessing extraordinary changes was stimulating and enlightening, as well as disheartening and disturbing. Against intimate, and often melancholy backdrops, the subtleties and complexities of day-to-day Cuba were what I was drawn to photograph.

The nineties were a very specific time in Cuba’s history. Cut loose from Soviet ties and financial assistance the economy was in a downward spiral. “The Special Period” as it was termed, referred to the drastic measures of rationing inflicted upon the population. Foreign investment and the expansion of the tourism industry, seen as a necessity, were in the beginning stages. Despite the many difficulties of that time, the integrity of the culture and the landscape, due to the county’s isolation over the previous decades had remained intact. It is this integrity, the Cuba before the inevitable changes that tourism and development bring, that is captured in this body of work. As a testament to the spirit of the Cuban people, as well as a documentation of a difficult and important period of Cuba’s history these photographs will only increase in their historical value as the change and development continues.

Process Statement
PROCESS STATEMENT All of the images from this body of work were taken with a Fujica 6x9 medium format camera. Shot with Fuji 400 speed negative film, all the photographs are printed (type C) by the photographer who has been printing her own color work since 1983.

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