Written by: Art Scene Miami

Miami’s 1970’s Transformation

Lydia Cabrera behind the car and Josefina Tarafa standing in front of the car ca. 1957. Courtesy Cuban Heritage Collection University of Miami.

Miami Dade College’s Cuban Legacy Gallery at the historic Freedom Tower will present Remaking Miami: Josefina Tarafa’s Photographs of the 1970s, an exhibition of images by the photographer, editor, and philanthropist that pictures the transformation of our city by the arrival of Tarafa’s fellow Cuban immigrants. The exhibition will be on view during fall 2020 (opening date TBA) until Sunday, February 28, 2021.

A member of a Cuban family prominent in politics and economics, Josefina Tarafa (1907–82) developed a particular interest in the photographic and audio documentation of Afro-Cuban cultures and, more widely, in various forms of Cuban popular culture. In the 1970s, she recorded the Cuban traces being engraved on Miami, creating what is arguably one of the most meaningful bodies of images that picture the transformation of the city during those years.

The first exhibition dedicated to Tarafa’s photography, Remaking Miami includes thirty posthumous prints, made from photographs in an archive of approximately one hundred and fifty original images, now preserved in postcard-size format as part of the Lydia Cabrera Papers at the University of Miami. The prints were produced in collaboration with MDC Special Collections.

Tarafa’s exploration of Miami combined the approaches of urban and visual anthropology. Emphasizing the relationships between immigrants and their environment, Tamara highlighted how Cuban immigrants generated the necessary conditions for their constitution as an extended community visible in the space of the city, and how they contributed to transforming it culturally, as well as economically and socially.

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Tags: , , , , Last modified: September 7, 2020