Havana Revisited: An Architectural Heritage

Posted in Vol 13 No 2 by bsaab on May 10, 2010

Download article as PDF

David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts
February 3–June 1, 2010

El Morro, Havana. Photo (right) by Cathryn Griffith.

El Morro, Havana. Photo (right) by Cathryn Griffith.

This exhibition immediately brought to mind a great observation: “In order for things to remain the same, there must be change.” But the Havana in Cathryn Griffith’s images tells a different story. Although things have remained the same, there has been no change to the urban fabric, making it seem almost fossilized.

Griffith’s urban documentation — a nostalgic then-and-now comparison of vintage postcards with her own modern photographs — captures Havana as a living colonial museum. The photos by themselves would have been simple episodic glimpses of the city, but combined with the postcards, they become a narrative that takes us through time and makes us think beyond the art before us. The social and cultural issues plaguing Havana today, which created the fossilized city in these images, suddenly become the point, which remains frustratingly beyond the reach of this exhibition.

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Cathryn Griffith said, on May 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    The social and cultural issues plaguing Havana today are presented and discussed at length in a 30-minute video which is part of this exhibition. Excerpts of this video will be posted soon at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: