Photography made by women in Cuba since 2000 to date, has performed in several ways. There are many examples of this phenomenon on the island, where it highlights today the names that make up the broad picture of our contemporary visual art, and provoke admiration by the themes, concepts, aesthetic concerns and appropriation of genres.
Many of these creators , mostly self-taught, have graduated or are studying at the Higher Institute of the Arts (ISA by its Spanish acronym), have focused their work , as their predecessors did, on revealing some disturbing areas of reality, without any taboo that limit them. The traces of inequality in gender representations were already visible since the beginning of the last decade of the last century. The women photographers invaded the analogical and digital medium like any other artist, focusing more easily on the design to achieve a new aesthetic that would socially transform collective minds.
These women have submitted various speeches, involving mainly two fundamental aspects: documentary photography and conceptual photography, each of which has reflected their concerns.
In the new millennium, some Cuban women photographers went into the gender discourse and its implications from the “I”, as shown by the self-portraits and photographic manipulations by Lisandra Isabel Garcia or Arianne Suarez, who use themselves as a model to deal with female power and subvert the values of male power. This line of discourse has also been addressed, much more raw and aggressive, by Hurí Herrera, through the representation of phalluses and vaginas shaped with pieces of meat, to which she proposes the visual solution of mutilation, from the inclusion of items such as knives.
Moreover, women photographers such as Leysis Quesada have delved, from the documentary, into this notion, based on the use of her daughters as female models as well as searching topics that reveal the maternal feeling, oblivious to the photograph taken by men (for example: her Series of Nuns or X).
Photography as enjoyment has led to getting focused on different aesthetics to achieve a goal. This is how some of these women prefer the documentary, some opt for conceptual issues, other ones show the boundaries between these two lines and some others subvert the patterns of this artistic manifestation with the creation of works that are mistaken for belonging to one or another expression.
The keynote speeches that proliferate with more and less force are those focused on ephemeral realities, the introspection, social and human commitment, and identity from different perspectives, to name just a few. The works by these women reflect the development of individualized and socialized expression of female subjectivity, which existence and operation models are questioned and also its critical and subversion variants, which has succeeded not only to take over the photographic world, but also to change it. The analysis of existentialist (aging, passage of time and loneliness), social (human misery, race, gender, popular culture, identity, religion, immigration and homosexuality) or more specific issues, such as the ways to address eroticism, subverting stereotypes and construct realities, from the position in which these creative women do it, is a key element of this photography, heir and continuator of the 1990s decade. Knowledge of new laboratory techniques, photo manipulation as a form of artistic creation, and the search for a more appropriate image, dealing with individual and universal matters, mark the originality of these artists.
Even though their proposals are feminine, not all are focused on gender topic. But as line of discourse, the self-reference is present, in dissimilar ways, in each of them. The emphasis in treating trivial and intimate issues related to personal events is notable in each of their series. From a strong feminine sensibility, these women look towards various philosophies, seeking a new hero and try to overturn what is already recognized to become themselves, along the way, in the most current expression of Cuban photography.