LOS CUBANOS. THE CUBA OF THE CUBANS
Whoever goes to Cuba for the first time gets the impression that time stood still more than 60 years ago. Along with the revolution, in 1959 came for many Cubans the hope for a fairer and better life. However, the original enthusiasm has long since faded. Resignation has often set in as the ever-burgeoning hope for a better life has all too often been followed by bitter disappointment. Today, most Cubans have come to terms with the situation and live their lives as best they can. Those who can are leaving the country because any other country seems better than their motherland.
“LOS CUBANOS. The Cuba of the Cubans” is a tribute to the wonderful people of Cuba who, despite adverse living conditions, master their everyday lives with perseverance and optimism. Volker Figueredo Véliz shows the liveliness of Cuba also through the color of the photos – Cuba is above all a country of colors. There are many photo books about Cuba. Most, if not all, are made by foreigners. This series claims to show the authentic Cuba. For this, its Volker Figueredo Véliz’s Cuban family who gave him access to places and events that are not normally accessible to a foreigner.
“LOS CUBANOS. The Cuba of the Cubans” is intended to be the visual complement and the continuation of the author’s book “LOS CUBANOS. Searching for Cubas Soul” published by dPunkt Verlag Heidelberg in 2021. It is first and foremost a book of photographs intended to give the viewer deep insight into a country unknown to her. The photographs were taken for almost two decades.
Volker Figueredo Véliz was born Volker Büffel in Germany in 1953. He worked for nearly forty years for a large computer manufacturer and, after accepting an offer of early retirement, he headed for Cuba where he met the woman who is now his wife. As a photographer, Figueredo has built up a worldwide reputation with his images on Cuba. He lived for several years in Havana – there, he found the inspiration for his photography and led photo workshops for people from all over the world. He uses his Leica to capture everything that is typically Cuban but is seldom seen by holidaymakers or other visitors to the island.
His family connections have enabled him to gain his subjects’ trust and have given him access to the everyday world of local customs and traditions, as well as the joys and worries that otherwise remain hidden behind the scenes of the tourist-friendly Cuba that the rest of the world gets to see. His “Cuba Inside” collection has been shown in multiple galleries across Germany. In 2018, Figueredo relocated to Germany with his wife Somaida and their daughter Yoana, but he still visits Cuba as often as he can.