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NMSU provides passport to Cuba with photography exhibit

A visit to Cuba is not possible for most people without lengthy paperwork and, ultimately, a special visa. However, New Mexico State University is providing access to this off-limits island and an important piece of Cuban history in the form of a photography exhibit entitled "El Cubano se Ofrece: An Exploration of Cuban Identity." The show features the work of internationally recognized Cuban photographer, Iván Cañas, from Friday, Oct. 15, until the end of the semester, at the William Conroy Honors Center at NMSU.

Iván Cañas' photograph "Mulata" (1971) will be part of the photography show, "El Cubano se Ofrece: An Exploration of Cuban Identity," on display at the William Conroy Honors Center at New Mexico State University starting Oct. 15. (Courtesy photo)

The community is invited to attend the show's kick-off events, which start at 3 p.m. Oct. 15 with a roundtable discussion on the construction of Cuban identity through photographs. Cañas, fellow Cuban and curator of the show David Sanchez, and Alison Newby, a sociology professor at NMSU, will lead the discussion. An opening reception will follow from 4-6:30 p.m.

"The Honors College and New Mexico State University are privileged and honored to exhibit such a distinguished body of work as that of Iván Cañas' images of post-revolutionary Cuba," said William Eamon, dean of the Honors College. "Cañas' photographs take us on a journey back to a time full of hope for the future where dreams of creating a great society imbued with the principles of socialism, social justice, and equality. There is a poetry to these images but they are utterly unromanticized. I think that the public will learn a lot about Cuba from these photographs and I encourage everyone to attend the opening, which will feature the artist discussing his work."

Iñigo García-Bryce, interim director for the Center for Latin American and Border Studies added, "The Center for Latin American and Border Studies is happy to co-sponsor an event that will contribute to strengthen cultural ties between New Mexico State University and Latin America."

"El Cubano se Ofrece: An Exploration of Cuban Identity" is a joint effort between the CLABS, the Honors College, the Department of Languages and Linguistics, the Department of Art, the Department of Sociology, the International Programs, and the Ajiaco Cultural Exchange Association, and was timed to correspond with Hispanic Heritage Month. Art students had a chance to participate in preparing the show by mounting and framing the 25 black and white photos that will be on display.

Cañas is a Cuban-born photographer who now resides in Miami, Fla. His work has been included in more than 100 exhibits in Cuba and abroad. He has been published in several anthologies and catalogs of Latin American photography, including "Shifting Tides: Cuban Photography After the Revolution," which received critical acclaim by international press.

Visitors are welcome to view the exhibit from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, after the opening until the end of the semester.

For more information, contact the Honors College at 575-646-2005.