Havana is on the minds of many stateside—in a way it hasn’t been in more than 50 years. Which makes the recent photography project of Eric Lane ’73, based in San Antonio, Texas, even more spellbinding. That project, Havana Now, delivers vibrant narratives of Cuba, capturing an atmosphere that’s colorful, distinct, and sometimes troubling.
The work first exhibited last summer in San Antonio at the Southwest Workers Union Gallery. An intense range of colors and aesthetic frequencies show how people live, breathe, and share Ciudad de las Columnas, or the City of Columns. Using high-dynamic-range imaging (HDR), Lane is able to give a hyper-real yet markedly stylized feel to each subject that he captures. The photographs are both polished and rough, intimate and disassociating—revealing, Lane hopes, “layers of insight, understanding, and beauty … Not clichés or sadness. Because Cuba is none of those.”
A longtime San Antonio resident, Lane is co-owner of the Bihl Haus Arts gallery, a community nonprofit space he and his wife launched a decade ago. Through the gallery and other interactions with Cuba, Lane has developed an artistic as well as political relationship with the country.
Havana Now explores the rights of the marginalized, indigenous, and dispossessed, and how social movements in U.S. Latino communities relate to those of their Caribbean neighbors. The show was done in conjunction with The Southwest Workers Union and included lectures on U.S./Cuba relations and the Catholic social justice movement in Cuba.
Lane’s work has previously been exhibited at The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Centre, Gallista Gallery, and other southern Texas locations. Lane returned from a visit to Cuba in June 2015 and hopes to bring a group of artists to San Antonio in 2017 for an exhibition at Bihl Haus Arts.