Monday, April 27, 2015

The Colors of Cuba Photographs by Lou Plummer

Lou Plummer will be our featured artist for May and June sharing her photographs taken on a recent trip to Cuba. The opening reception will be held on Friday, May 9 from 5-8 pm. The show runs from May 1 to June 30.

Lou talks about her show.

"I was only months old when the Cuban Revolution began in 1953 and 6 when it ended in 1959.  

In 1962 I had no idea of what was happening in any world except my own. I was blissfully unaware, climbing trees, drawing hopscotch patterns on the driveway, playing in the forest surrounding my home with all the make believe magic I could conjure.

My father was an avid reader of news magazines and rarely, if ever, missed the nightly news.

Sometimes I do wonder what my mom and dad must have been thinking.  Were they aware, were they concerned?  Did they discuss this or was it as foreign to their world as it was to mine? 

I have read and heard the stories of Americans traveling to Cuba for fun and recreation.  After all, it is only a short 90-mile hop from the southern tip of the United States. 

Cuba attracted a range of Americans, from waitresses escaping their daily life in Miami, enjoying the anonymity allowed while experiencing the nightlife in Cuba, to famous American ‘mobsters’ doing the same.

I have been attracted to the romance, if you will, of that era and wished for many years to travel to Cuba and hopefully experience the same, as did those earlier, fellow adventurous travelers.

That was not a possibility, legally, until recently.

Travel is now possible to Cuba for citizens of the United States. These trips are termed ‘People to People’.

“It is a travel program designed to allow international visitors to get a first hand view of the Cuban reality, to learn about the authentic Cuba, meeting the people, learning about the Cuban culture, its traditions and nationality.”
“It will help, modestly but consistently, to improve the economic conditions of the people and the civil society key to Cuba’s future.”

Various events that touched my life during 2014 warned me to no longer delay any steps toward happiness.  So, I searched on line, talked to my travel agent and decided to take the trip to Cuba. 

I learned so much, met so many wonderful, charming and unforgettable people and came away with a little more understanding of the Cuban people.

It was a surprise to me how important education and the arts are to the people of Cuba.  Our visits included a primary school, a private studio of artists where different techniques in printmaking are explored, the Vocal Leo – a group of 14 talented singers known internationally for its distinctive interpretation of choral music…and that was just the first day!

All our days were filled with similar experiences and were never boring or tiresome.  And did I mention the music?  I thought I would have to search and find the famous sound of Cuba, but not so.  From the doorways of every bar and restaurant came sounds of jazz floating through the air, crossing streets and alleyways, morning, noon and night.

One of the world’s last remaining Communist states, the Cuban government continues to stifle its people, but through Communism the people have free education, free medical care and a rationing system that provides family minimums for rice, sugar, beans, matches, oil and other items depending on age and gender. 

Cuba today is the only Communist state to receive a “very high” human development ranking from the United Nations, and ranks well in measures of health and education.

Recent changes under Raul Castro have loosened government controls, allowing people to buy and sell their homes, own a small business as a restaurant, called  a paladar (previously all restaurants were government owned) or open up their homes to tourists as a bed and breakfast offering the opportunity to get to know real Cubans and the authentic atmosphere of their everyday lives.

I have tried to capture this everyday life with my photographs."

Lou attended Randolph Community College, receiving an associate degree in Photo Technology, concentrating in Photojournalism. She also received a bachelor of arts degree in Marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

Join us on May 9th from 5-8 to meet the artist - or any Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday since we are lucky to have Lou working with us at Carolina Creations!

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