MDC Museum of Art + Design

Remaking Miami: Josefina Tarafa’s Photographs from the 1970s
Cuban Legacy Gallery
(Upcoming - Fall/Winter 2020)

Facade of Academia Cubana de Ballet, Coral Gables, Florida, 1970s

Facade of Academia Cubana de Ballet, Coral Gables, Florida, 1970s. Photo by Josefina Tarafa. Courtesy of the Lydia Cabrera Papers, Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami Libraries

The Cuban Legacy Gallery is proud to present Remaking Miami: Josefina Tarafa’s Photographs of the 1970s, an exhibition of images by photographer, editor, and philanthropist Josefina Tarafa that documents the transformation of our city by the arrival of her fellow Cuban immigrants.

While Miami was the setting for Tarafa’s research, immigration—little studied at the time—was her subject. With sharp anthropological observation and artistic vision, Tarafa emphasized the relationships between immigrants and their new environment through photography, highlighting how Cuban immigrants contributed to transforming Miami culturally, as well as economically and socially.

The first exhibition dedicated to Tarafa’s photography, Remaking Miami includes thirty posthumous prints, made from photographs selected from the Lydia Cabrera Papers at the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami Libraries in an archive of approximately one hundred and fifty original images.

Organized by curator and scholar José Antonio Navarrete, the exhibition will debut in Fall/Winter 2020 and remain on view through February 28, 2021.

Organized in collaboration with the Lydia Cabrera Papers, Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables.

For the exhibition news and reopening announcements, please sign up for our newsletter and visit MDC’s Information and Resources page.

Culture and Change in the Americas
Kislak Center
(On Pause)

Maya Ceramic Throne Box, Classic Maya 800-1000 CE.

Maya Ceramic Throne Box, Classic Maya 800-1000 CE.

Culture and Change in the Early Americas, the inaugural exhibition at the Kislak Center, presents America’s history through books, maps, manuscripts, documents, and objects.

Among the stunning objects in the exhibition are exquisitely crafted gold, ceramic and feather artworks that give a revealing glimpse into the ancient spiritual traditions of the Maya, the Taíno, and other indigenous civilizations

Interactive displays let visitors explore Martin Waldseemüller’s famous 1507 and 1516 maps of the world, groundbreaking cartographic masterpieces that were the first to show the Americas; and the 1635 Historae Naturae, the first encyclopedia of American plants and animals.

Another popular section of the exhibit explores the Meso-American ballgame that was both a religious ritual representing a struggle between the gods of heaven and the lords of the underworld, and a blood sport which sacrificed the captain of the losing team.

Culture and Change in the Early Americas shows us the unpredictable, complex ways that civilizations evolve and incorporate new influences; and the resilience of native and enslaved peoples whose culture endures despite oppression. It is a fascinating journey through the multi-faceted history of the Americas, and a celebration of the many Latin American and Caribbean communities whose stories continue to play out in Miami.

Journey To Freedom
The Exile Experience
(On Pause)

Freedom Flights Cuban refugees crowd into a processing area at the Freedom Tower in 1967

Freedom Flights Cuban refugees crowd into a processing area at the Freedom Tower in 1967. Juan Clark Collection

The Exile Experience: Journey to Freedom is a historical collection of photos and stories that illustrate the struggles the Cuban exile community has endured since Fidel Castro's rise to power, and the successes they have achieved in the United States. The installation is found on the mezzanine/ballroom floor of the historic Freedom Tower.

Recently arrived Cuban families line up for assistance at the Cuban Refugee Emergency Center in 1967

Recently arrived Cuban families line up for assistance at the Cuban Refugee Emergency Center in 1967

The Exile Experience also presents interdisciplinary lectures and displays throughout the year, which explore the diverse experiences of exiled communities.

This important collection, and its programming, considers forced displacements, diasporic movements, memory, and cultural identity to highlight the remarkable role that exile communities continue to play in the development of Miami.

Check back for upcoming events with The Exile Experience.

Juana Valdes: Terrestrial Bodies
Cuban Legacy Gallery
(Past)

"Above and Below" (2015) by Juana Valdes

: "Above and Below" (2015) by Juana Valdes forms part of the artist's upcoming exhibition, Terrestrial Bodies. Image courtesy of the artist and Spinello Projects.

Ptolemy’s Geography inevitably revealed the earth was a spherical globe, rather than a flat surface. This discovery spawned hundreds of European expeditions, leading to the conquer and colonization of the Americas.

In Terrestrial Bodies, Juana Valdes considers Ptolemy’s research, expanding two-dimensional works into large installations that map a connection between the history of trade and the displacement of various cultures and people.

Incorporating early cartographies and mass-produced collectible ceramic objects – sourced by Valdes from around the world– the exhibition echoes the current trend of globalization, free markets and labor production while questioning the history of colonization. By placing these found ceramic objects in dialogue with grid-like two dimensional works, Valdes alludes to physical bodies being moved and displaced due to the explorations and discoveries of the New World.

Terrestrial Bodies draws on the artists’ personal experience of migration as an Afro-Cuban American. Born in Cabañas, Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Valdes migrated to the United States in 1971. She completed her M.F.A. in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 1993 and her B.F.A. in Sculpture at Parsons School of Design in 1991. Valdes is an awardee of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the National Association of Latinos Arts and Cultures, the Ellies Creative Award and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Valdes is an Associate professor in the Department of Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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