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El Muro (Smith College trip)

by on November 1, 2011

At the Smith College Museum of Art, we looked at an exhibit that caught my eye. El Muro is a photography series, showing the night life on the Malecon, a wall that extends to Havana. Eduardo Hernández Santos spent a year there,  photographing the night life on that section of the wall. This mostly consisted of gay/lesbian couples, who seemed to claim portions of the wall as their own, and would congregate there nightly. Having their pictures taken was one of the only outlets where they could reveal this part of themselves.The photos are arranged in a way that is quite moving and helps to show what life is/was really like for these people. There were usually two pictures of the wall it’s self, and one picture of a person or people who had congregated on the wall that night. Also these photos would be accompanied by a quote from the poem “La isla en peso (The Island Burden)”. One of these compelations of photos really caught my eye:

This image shows two women intertwined, leaning against the wall. Eduardo Hernandez has put Xs over all of the places where their bodies touch. The letters in all of his photos are abbreviations for words used to describe gays and lesbians, most of them not nice. In this case the Xs stand for X rated. this image in particular interested me, the grays in the image, although subtle, really make various parts of the photo stand out: the eyes of the taller woman, the lips of the shorter woman, all of the bracelets, the intertwined arms. This photo for me truely shows what life must have been like on the wall at night, and how the people were posing for the photos instead of having them be natural and what it was really like, however if this is how these women wished to be portrayed, then I think that the wall must have been a very interesting place. We saw many other engaging exhibits at the Smith Museum of Art, but this exhibit was my favorite.

Below are two links that will give more information on this exhibit:

http://scma.smith.edu/artmuseum/On-View/El-Muro

http://www.lambdaliterary.org/reviews/fiction/01/20/el-muro-the-wallby-eduardo-hernandez-santos/

Directions to get to the Smith College Museum of Art , click here.

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