Cities of Modernism

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‘Unimagined realities:
From modernism to surrealism in Raúl Cañibano's Havana’

For three decades, black-and-white photographs by Raúl Cañibano (b. Havana, 1961) have documented history and human experience, telling stories about his native Havana. Making connections across film, literature and visual culture, this paper examines how Cañibano employs modernist and surrealist influences in his ongoing series “Foto Ciudad” (1992–present). It also reflects on what the collision of social, historical, and political elements in these images says about Cuban culture and identity. In turn, it reveals how Cuban photographers such as Cañibano are creating alternative views of politically loaded places/spaces where pre- and post-revolutionary Cuban themes converge. To achieve this, the paper aligns Cañibano's work with critical historical moments that have determined Western imaginaries of Cuba. Informed by interviews and recent fieldwork on the island, it also considers Cañibano’s influence on contemporary Cuban photography and how native and foreign critics and audiences have received his work.
Period17 May 2022
Event typeConference
LocationYork , United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • City
  • modernism
  • cities
  • surrealism
  • photography
  • cuba
  • havana
  • documentary
  • cañibano