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Gentrification noun - the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

Gentrification fascinates and frightens me.

I’m fascinated by the subtly of it all - a new market here, some new trees there, a new luxury condo springing up overnight, lots of new faces.

And frightened by the deliberateness of it all - a public-private apparatus building a whole new neighborhood around you, without you and not entirely for you.

It happened to Harlem, my home of more than 25 years. And if “what’s past is prologue," it will happen to Cuba. 

The goals of The Cuba Polaroid Project are simple (for now): 

  • Use one of the oldest photographic media - polaroids - to archive present-day Havana, Cuba as seen by me, a woman of color artist impacted by gentrification 
  • Share the resulting “unedited” images and stories broadly and have them be used by other artists and activist for projects 
  • Incorporate the images into my current collage art practice and create a body of work that explores gentrification and its impact on the built environment and poor black and brown bodies