Starting March 18th, and for the following forty days, Geandy Pavón (Las Tunas, Cuba, 1974) released a photograph a day on social media. These images were part of a photographic essay that the artist conceived in the immediacy created by the daily challenges of life during a pandemic. By the arrival of the final posts, the artist had harvested a group of followers who would excitedly wait for his next offering. Pavón seized the moment when the internet became a lifeline for the viewer through the stories he was sharing, and turned these unfortunate times into poetry.
The artist traveled from New Jersey to visit his partner, Imara López, in Buffalo, New York, when the couple found themselves “trapped” in her apartment during the first period of the COVID-19 lockdown. In the setting of López’s home and with very limited resources, they built the most creative scenes in which they were both the artists and the muses. The ideas began to flow and the problems arrived in proportion, given the lack of the adequate equipment to make those ideas a reality.
398 miles away from my studio in New Jersey and with only two stores open, Dollar Tree and Target, the only solution was to create the instruments to be able to work, says Pavón.
Simple elements, such as the use of flashlights and hand-cut cardboard props, helped the couple reenact art history classics; re-interpret popular religious rituals; and ultimately produce a brand-new imagery that chronicles life in Modern-day pandemic.
Unfolding historical moments have threaded their way through the narrative. In addition to the body of photographs in the exhibition, Pavón created process videos to further narrate some of these moments. Visitors will also enjoy a soundtrack by renowned musician Paquito D’Rivera, created specifically for the exhibition. The soundtrack is comprised of two versions of the iconic La Bella Cubana, written by Afro-Cuban 20c composer, José Lafitte White.
This exhibition arrives at the Coral Gables Museum from the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C. where it was exhibited virtually and is made possible by the generous support of Laura Blanco, Robert Shainheit, and the In Art We Trust Foundation.
Yuneikys Villalonga, Chief Curator
Coral Gables Museum