A recent conservation accord signed by the United States and Cuba will be honored June 10 in Havana with a 100-image exhibition of maritime landscapes by Key West photographer Jeffrey Cardenas.
"Naturalezas Gemelas/Twins in Nature" pays tribute to the "sister sanctuaries" of Parque Nacional Guanahacabibes and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the environmental collaboration that aims to promote the conservation and sustainability of the marine protected areas.
The agreement between U.S. and Cuba was initiated late last year, creating memorandum of understanding among the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Park Service and Cuba's National Center for Protected Areas.
"Jeffrey's photography is a visual touchstone to" the agreement, says Billy Causey, southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean regional director of NOAA.
Cardenas has documented the marine habitat of Cuba and the Florida Keys for decades, driven by both artistic motivation and a desire to bring about a greater awareness of their fragility.
"“In Cuba, there are hundreds of miles of coastline that are still untouched and thanks to good management practices in the U.S., unspoiled maritime habitat remains here, as well," he says. "It's important to document these places because of their vulnerability."
The exhibit will take place at Sala de La Diversidad, Cuba's environmental gallery in the heart of Havana Vieja where the government has focused restoration efforts. Cardenas' study of sky, water and shoreline in the sister sanctuaries will be exhibited throughout the gallery and have large text panels in both English and Spanish.
Though it is rare for American artists to exhibit in Cuba, it will be the second showing for Cardenas, whose first was a collaborative portrait project with photographer Yanela Pineiro at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
"Naturalezas Gemelas/Twins in Nature" will be exhibited until August, returning to the US for a showing at the SALT Gallery in Key West at the end of 2016.