Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Photos celebrate Cuba's culture

The Daily Collegian, Penn State University

Posted on October 23, 2007 12:53 AM

By Gina Cherundolo Email
Collegian Staff Writer

Students can explore the multicultural and artistic side of Cuba through photographs as they study or pass time in between classes with the latest HUB Gallery exhibit.

On a trip to Cuba, Dr. Dennis McBride took pictures reflecting the culture and art of the area that comprise his exhibit titled Images of Cuba. The exhibit is currently on display in the Art Alley on the first floor of the HUB-Robeson Center and will be through Dec. 9.

McBride, a physician, went to Cuba in fall 2003 with Global Exchange, an organization that works to promote international awareness among the U.S. public, according to the organization's Web site, www.globalexchange.org.

McBride, of Connecticut, said while his tour focused mainly on observing Cuba's healthcare system, he's always been fascinated with Cuba, including its history and strong African influence.

This is the first time the photographs have been on display.

"I've taken so many pictures, but I haven't shown them until now," McBride said. "Cameras to me make me look at and visualize things ... with a camera, I can blend art and reality."

He said the photographs in the exhibit focus mainly on the people and art.

"A lot of the photos are of older people; it's a testament of longevity," McBride said.

Several photos in the exhibition show street performers including the well-known Cuban street performer Manuel Mendive.

McBride said he hoped with the exhibit to represent a side of Cuba that is normally not shown.

"There's a lot of dignity there," he said. "I wanted people to look at it and see they are people like us. There's an appreciation for music, culture and beauty that people don't see."

Dennis' brother, David, an African and African-American Studies professor at Penn State, said his interest in the HUB exhibits inspired him to work to bring his brother's art to Penn State.

"When I saw Dennis' work, they were so colorful and had a strong message of diversity," David McBride said. "Penn State is a good place to bring it."

David McBride describes his brother's photos as stimulating and colorful. He also said they have a striking message of social and historical diversity.

Ann Shields, head of the HUB-Robeson galleries, said the exhibit fulfills the gallery's mission of showing multiculturalism.

"It's a way of exposing students to diversity and art," she said.

David McBride has also coordinated a discussion about the exhibit, culture and impact of visual images to be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 10 in the HUB Auditorium.

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