Fotos de Habana Vieja – exhibit of photographs by Tony Ortega

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For the month of February, Dayton Memorial Library presents “Fotos de Habana Vieja” by Anthony Ortega, associate professor, Fine and Performing Arts, Regis College. The exhibit can be viewed in the Doyle and Margaret Hartman Gallery and the Fireplace Lounge from February 1 through February 28, 2018.

Ortega offers the following artist statement about the exhibit:
Historically, artists have responded to social concerns with artwork that depicts culture, traditions, social injustice, human rights, environmental degradation and political power. My goal as an artist is to create artwork that is personal and which expresses a sense of social responsibility.

I created these photographs with digital technology by using three IPAD apps: Vivid HDR to capture the images, Snapseed to process the photos, and Vintage Scene to stylize the images. In my creative process, distortion and exaggeration are used for emotional effect.

I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit many places in Latin America. In May of 2017, my wife and I traveled to Havana. It was an amazing and insightful experience. Since my return, I have had flashbacks of people’s faces, of places we visited and of the moving stories we heard. Based in Old Havana, we visited local art and cultural centers as well as museums, venues in which we became immersed in the beautiful Cuban culture.

Francisco, our airbnb host, has lived in Habana Vieja for many years and is very knowledgeable about the local area. He is street smart and seems to know everyone. He gave us good advice and helped us navigate and understand the city and its culture. We observed Francisco and noted his relationships with friends and others, relationships that appeared to be a microcosm of the people of Cuba who have survived the US embargo. This embargo has significantly affected everybody in Cuba.

The Cuban people help each other with their street smarts, the exchange of services and knowledge as well as mutual financial support. We admire these amazing people and their remorsefulness in the challenge to endure and survive. We wish them the best and hope one day to return to Havana and see them again!!! I am in solidarity with the people of Cuba.


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