Street Life. Urban kids

/ 1 September, 2018

A piece of urban life where kids, adolescents and very young individuals are the protagonists of a daily story. A fragment of contemporary life where boys and girls and early youth are at the center of the visual narrations told by photographers that roam the streets. Street Life… as a project of photographic exhibition is a fraction of a rich and complex theme. It is an elementary cartography of what clicks.

The street kids’ dynamics is a big (…). It frequently emerges limited to usual scenes, basic portraits or reiterated focuses on universal and national history of the well-known documentary photography or street photography. Based on the selection of the differing, outlining possible visual registry coordinates, it becomes a display of what has been prevailing in the last ten years. A shot of that life outside the home that has as space of social interaction the public roads (streets, sidewalks, parks, promenades) and the city’s sites that naturally grow in its suburbs (adjacent communities inside the big city). A glance at that abrupt, illusory, monotonous or imitative moving of these kids developing in a new millennium socialist society that brandishes speeches of faith for the new generations.

(…) When the whole of the work of a documentary photography is viewed, the portrait of children is usually dissipated. Unless it is assumed as an essay or series.

Many creators have used it on a par or as the center of their work, with more acute discourses or in their illustrative variants. Strengthening the message or in descriptive figurations. There exists a tradition of this: the images of the smiling pioneers, the pictures of children in the streets of Old Havana, the scenes featuring multiracial children, the pictures of happy children in precarious contexts, legendary games (…) are sustained focuses in Cuban photography and about Cuba.

(…) Street Life… is a tight bunch of the current arena. Young names are invited to dialogue with those who already have an established career. A way of opening probable paths of a topic that is not exhausted. A project that doesn’t bet on the facile or on the extremes that embrace each other (decadence or apparent happiness). It is a curatorial work in progress that opens and evades the common place of a common theme. (…)

Grethel Morell Otero

Historian of Cuban photography, curator and art critic. She is author of the books Otras Historias de la Fotografía Cubana (Other Histories of Cuban Photography) and Damas, Esfinges y Mambisas: La Mujer en la Fotografía cubana desde el siglo xix (Ladies, Sphinxes and Warriors: Women in Cuban Photography since the 19th century). Co-curator of the exhibitions The Lost Gaze, Cuba 1970-1984 and Small Maneuvers: Cuban Contemporary Photography.

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