170 Years of José Martí: Examining the 'Legacy in Stone' with Cuban Photographer Jorge J. Perez

Event Start Date: January 27, 2023 1:00 PM
Event End Date: January 27, 2023 3:00 PM


170 Years of José Martí: Examining the 'Legacy in Stone' with Cuban Photographer Jorge J. Perez
Friday, January 27 | 1:00 pm |  Smathers Room 100


Cuban photographer Jorge J. Perez will discuss his project "Legacy in Stone" and show images from the project portfolio.

About the project

written by Jorge J. Perez

"Apostle of the independence of Cuba, guide of the American peoples and champion of human dignity, he was born in Havana on January 28, 1853." This is how the text in homage to José Martí is inscribed on the New York marble, on top of the pedestal, his equestrian sculpture, his figure in an eternal fall, reminds all Cubans of his sacrifice and our sins. A Cuban, like those who in the New York of 1964 plunged into exile demanded the local government to deposit on its pedestal the sculpture sculpted by Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington, which was finally placed in 1965, turning this site south of Central Park, place of worship and pilgrimage of the Cuban community in the country, this being one of the main ones along with other monuments in memory of Martí in the United States.

Monuments have always been conceived to represent utopian ideals, a dominant ideology, or to legitimize power. This is one of the reasons why many monuments are outraged, due to ideological discrepancies and their changing contexts. In the case of Martí, it has been different within the Cuban community, despite having huge discrepancies between both sides of the political spectrum: José Martí, his thoughts and his legacy have never been in question. After his death, his figure and thought were cemented within the spiritual and cultural memory of our roots, Martí is Cuba itself. Which turns these spaces into sanctuaries to the Cuban identity.

Since the United States is very important in the history of Martí where he lived for 15 years of his exile, also for the Cuban community and personally, as a Cuban immigrant, in the personal search for my own identity, I try to locate and portray these spaces created and preserved by the Cuban diaspora. Legacy in Stone, is a portrait project, with the main objective of documenting monuments and busts of Martí that in turn symbolize Cuba on foreign soil. This project begins in 2017 with the location of more than 60 busts or statues, of which 98% has been completed. The final objective of this work is to make these pieces of Cuba in exile more accessible through these documentary records to the Cuban exodus in the country. Like the elaboration of a book with the content of the project.