Marta María Pérez Bravo(Havana, 1959)

Marta María Pérez Bravo is a pioneer of artistic photography in Cuba, a kind of photography done by artists rather than professional photographers, photo-reporters or photojournalists (although, of course, these can also make works of art). The purpose of this particular form of artistic creation, sometimes called metaphoric photography, is not to document external reality, people's faces, city or country landscapes, or to record scenes of daily or family life, politics or rituals. The objective is rather to explore (or to make spectators discover in the photographic images) the ideas, concepts, emotions, desires, fears, hopes and beliefs that the artist intended to convey.

Firmeza (Firmness)

Firmeza is one of few examples – together with some by Rodríguez Brey –where spiritualism makes its appearance in Cuban visual arts. In this case, in its most simple and most enigmatic expression: a glass of water where the spirits of our ancestors come down to drink, known in the local language as “spiritual glass” or “spiritual assistance”. Instead of the table or shelf where this is generally placed, the glass rests on the artist's own body which, assuming a natural yet extreme stability posture, becomes an improvised altar for the grateful descent of the spirits. Perhaps there is no better altar than our own bodies.

Year: 1991
Technique: Photograph
Size: 50.5 x 40.5 cm

Theme: ritual