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TEMPORARY REFUGES, 2013-2016

The series consists of pictures of the remains of objects that have been thrown into the sea and swept back to land by the tides. They are for the most part animal and vegetable in nature, and are the leftovers of sacrificial rituals practiced in Cuba by devotees of syncretic religions. These age-old rituals are enjoying increasing popularity on the island. In contrast to earlier times, they are now practiced by people of all social classes, even though many still belong to the poorer strata of society. Their main purpose is the fulfillment of wishes, and they are often seen as the only practicable means of improving one’s life. Frequently they have to do with material needs. The photos were taken at a small beach in a neighborhood of Havana. Like all accessible beaches of the city, it overflows with countless leftovers of such rituals on a daily basis. I regard these remnants of hope as a metaphor for the current state of my homeland. Despite the endlessly repeated official political stance, which preaches to the population that a utopia of equality, altruism and progress, has been achieved, and despite the hopes and sacrifices of generations, the perception of people at all levels of society is precisely the opposite. Sociopolitical means to satisfy individual and collective needs have failed, what remains is magic. In my work on this series, I was especially interested in the tensions between the desire of people to move forwards towards wellness and the beauty of life, and what is left behind when the realization of this yearning is built upon using other living beings. The images are a reflection on the fundamental tension between this desire for self-improvement and the question of what the individual is willing to do to achieve it, which I consider neither limited to a Caribbean island nor to an anthropological phenomenon.