ellen silverman’s ‘spare beauty: the cuban kitchen’

photo: ellen silverman

We are thrilled to publish some of resident photographer Ellen Silverman‘s work from a forthcoming exhibit at the Umbrella Arts’ gallery in New York City, “Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen” her ongoing project.

This past year I travelled to Cuba three times; having a strong interest in food and food photography, the kitchen was a natural subject for me to focus on. I was welcomed into homes where I  found sparse spaces, where time has stopped. Due to years of lack of money, supplies and equipment, many Cubans have been forced to adapt and improvise. These photographs reflect the personalities and circumstances of those who inhabit them. If you are unable to come to the gallery please take a few minutes to go to my website and view the photographs online. 

We’ve published some of Ellen’s moving Cuban kitchen photographs in the past and love seeing 30 of them on display (in person and on the web)

Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen by Ellen Silverman

photo: ellen silverman

Ellen Silverman Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen

photo: ellen silverman

…valiant  and incredibly resourceful ways people figure out to make SOMETHING with whatever is around.

Spare Beauty: the Cuban Kitchen is on view from March 2 -March 31 at 317 East 9th Street in NYC.

Related posts: ellen silverman photographs: inside cuba’s kitchens pt.1
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improvised kitchens, for surviving a renovation (and other of life’s surprises)
vietnam’s culture of improvisation via charlie allenson (happy birthday charlie!!!)
history as evidence, inspiration and guide (ww II)
holiday resource: makeshift seating
wabi sabi, the perfection of imperfection
pascal anson on (cheap) kitchen cabinets

4 Responses to ellen silverman’s ‘spare beauty: the cuban kitchen’

  1. Sue Rissberger 03.08.2012 at 9:59pm #

    The space is perfect for this exhibit. Kitchen’s are intimate and personal spaces where so much happens. Cultures, societies and families convene and meet around food all the time. Discussions unfold, laughter echoes, and quiet meditation can also occur while preparing a meal. I felt like Ellen Silverman conveyed this through her work. While many of the pieces did not contain physical human life, the images captured the humanness within this space and the stories that grew from within.

  2. Ellen Silverman 03.09.2012 at 2:51pm #

    That is so lovely and accurate. Although there is a definite lack of seating in most of these spaces as well as lack of food visible. Thank you for seeing the humanness and
    understanding that each space doe have it’s own story. Ellen

  3. c. 04.18.2012 at 11:50pm #

    pressure cookers are so popular! :D

  4. A Cuban In London 05.11.2012 at 2:56pm #

    I have to admit that I’ve had the link to your post in my inbox for a couple of months now and I hesitated as to whether I should leave a comment or not. The written word carries no tone, other than the one we give it when we read it and my words might be misinterpreted.

    I was born and raised in Havana. So I should be happy, over the moon, that someone’s taken the trouble of travelling to my country of birth and snapped aay at the Cuban reality.

    But no. Your photos are just another sad representation of the poverty tourism into which we’ve fallen as a developing country. It’s the side-effect of opening up to new markets. Kitches in Cuba are not just intimate, on many occasions they double up as bedrooms and even bathrooms. That’s not to be celebrated even if we laugh at the folly of it. We laugh because there’s nothing else we can do. Or, rather, yes, there is. To build a raft and brave the choppy seas and the ninety miles.

    I don’t know what to say or think of your post. It just made me sad. I was born there. I lived with these people. Their laughter, our laughter, has changed over the years, from a spontaneous one to a forced one where the “green” is the coveted prize at the end.

    But we live in a free society, both you and me. So, even if I could, I would never ever censor your right to exhibit these pictures. Even if they make this Cuban sad.

    I hope you enjoyed your stay in Cuba. It’s a beautiful country that deserves better, not just from those who govern it but from those who visit it, too.

    Greetings from London.

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