ArtMedia Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Little Havana, composed of a segment of the extended homonym essay mainly developed from 2016 to 2022 by American, Cuban-born photographer Rainy Silvestre. Walking with his cameras, lenses, and tripod throughout the Little Havana neighborhood day and night, Silvestre gathered a voluminous body of work guided by his passional and intense commitment to photography and the locality that received him as a refugee.
The new name of Little Havana spread in the 1960s and the 1970s for denominating two old Miamian neighborhoods: Riverside, founded in the first years of the 20th century, and Shenandoah, formed in the 1920s. Until the 1960s, the area was inhabited by white and black Bahamians, Jews, and people from the Middle East and the South of the country, sometimes all sharing spaces and experiences with newcomers from the North East. But Cuban exiles transformed it into a Latin vicinity after Castro established his dictatorship on the Caribbean Island in 1959. Later, between the 1970s and the 1980s, mostly Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorans started the last waves of local Latin-American immigration. In this centennial process, the neighborhood passed from one middle-low class predominant population to one working class. Most importantly, it converted into the quintessential stage of Latino popular culture in Miami. Rainy Silvestre's photographs know everything about this history.
Little Havana, the essay, is simultaneously a tribute to this vicinity, an enthusiastic and warming approach to its current semblance, manners, and behaviors, as well as a confident use of the camera to create colorful direct images able to communicate perceptions, reflections, and emotions. Also, Little Havana, the essay, is a visual concentration of levels of history and stories that crosses the time and lives in the present.
About the artist
Rainy Silvestre was born in Matanzas, Cuba, in 1975 and has lived and worked in Miami, FL, since 1998. He began his photographic journey as a self-taught photographer and later completed studies at the New York Institute of Photography (2015) and Página en Blando in Mexico City (2017). Silvestre has participated in several group exhibitions, including The Object and the Image (this is not a chair either), Concrete Space, Miami, and Double Play, FotoMuseo Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City, both in 2017. Also, in Buenos Aires Photo 2020 and the Museum of the University of Alicante, in 2021, among others. His work has been published in several online magazines. His short monograph Little Havana was published by Peanut Press Books in 2020.
About the curator
José Antonio Navarrete lives and works in Miami, FL. He is a critic, researcher, and independent curator of art and visual culture. He is in charge of the ArtMedia curatorial program and participates in several international projects as a curator or writer contributor.
About the gallery
Artmedia Gallery was founded in 2012. With a location in Little River, Miami, Florida, the gallery has the mission to exhibit and promote contemporary art based on photography and video practices. One of the gallery’s central objectives is to explore the vast possibilities of the expanded notion of art through media technology.