Raúl Cañibano lives and works in Havana, Cuba. His first solo exhibition, Lonely Hunter, took place in 1993 at the Fototeca de Cuba in Havana. Since then his photographs have been exhibited internationally in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, the US, Spain, Greece, Italy, Belgium, and Japan. In 1999 he won the Grand Prix in the Cuban National Photography Exhibit for his project on the life of rural workers, Tierra Guajira. He was one of eleven photographers selected for the Cuba, Si! Cuba, Seen retrospective of 50 years of Cuban photography at the Royal National Theatre in London in 2000. His work is part of the International Center of Photography’s collection in New York.
Raised in the rural province of Las Tunas on the eastern side of Cuba, Cañibano worked as a welder until 1989, when a visit to an exhibition of Alfredo Sarabia’s surrealist photographs at the Fototeca de Cuba inspired him to pursue a career in photography at nearly thirty years old.
Largely self-taught, Cañibano quickly joined the generation of photographers coming into being in the 1990s following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and interested in documenting the effects of the economic crisis on the livelihoods and experiences of ‘Cubanos’. His first photograph, depicting the shadow of an equestrian statue cut off in the middle to reveal a linear arrangement of modern lamp-posts against a stark, cloudless sky, established both his aesthetic and political concerns. The unique composition hints at his surrealist influences, while also evoking the island’s turbulent past and present impending socio-economic change.
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