Fidel is Fidel - Photography & Film Documentary Exhibit
Fidel is Fidel
An Exhibit of Photographs by Roberto Chile
Since the time leading up to the Cuban Revolution in the Sierra Maestra olive green fatigues have been the most indelible sign of the indefatigable revolutionary; Fidel Castro Ruz. After 1959 there were times when protocol dictated he dress in a guayabera or a classic dark suit but right away he would return to his military fatigues with the red and black squares with golden laurel on his shoulder, signifying his leadership.
It was like that until that fateful day that made us mute with anguish when the condition of his health required him to relinquish his duties that he had held for so long by popular acclaim. It also seemed that the uniform of so many hard fought and glorious battles, with its woven threads of high moments of contemporary history, would be left aside as well.
But Fidel is Fidel, as was said by someone who knew him before and better than any of us. Fidel knows how much meaning the olive green and the star of the Commander in Chief has for a people that used that symbol to feed its resistance in determining its own history.
After long months of uncertainty, Fidel reappeared, returning as a soldier of acute, sharp and provocative ideas. He had the same accuracy as the scope on his rifle but that had now been transformed into a weapon with a universal scope, the written living word. He pointed his words towards areas that the leaders of the first world did not seem to worry about, in an era in which the long view can make the difference between survival or extinction of all living species.
Time in its steady march towards the horizon will conquer all men and women of the world, never the less he was revitalized and accurate again and in the front of a still small army for the enormous mission that is ahead: to make war on the wars.
In those days Roberto Chile, who for more than 25 years had documented the Cuban leader in moving images, let his video camera rest and chose instead to capture the significance of these decisive moments of history in still images. In this way he could stop in real time the epic symbol of a man who will always be an icon for those who struggle all their lives for a better world.
Arleen Rodríguez Derivet, Cuban journalist
PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT • December 1-31
Gallery hours: Tuesday - Thursday 2-9 pm; Fri-Sat 11-6 pm
ARTWALK RECEPTION • Dec. 9 • 5-8 PM with "Fidel is Fidel" film at 6:15 pm.
About Roberto Chile
Roberto Chile is a contemporary Cuban filmmaker, photographer and art promoter. He has directed a large number of documentary features and short films about Cuban culture and current events. His best known works are his documentaries; En las laderas del Himalaya; En mis ojos brillas tú; Hágase la luz; Oda a la Revolución; Sencillamente KORDA; Soy Tata Nganga; Haití volverá; Esencias, La Colmenita en Estados Unidos, Justicia en Londres, Chávez y Fidel, hasta siempre y Fidel es Fidel.
Photo: Bill Hackwell
As his personal cameraman, Chile accompanied Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban Revolution, in his travels in Cuba and the world from 1984 to 2006. His unique perspective in documenting a profile of Fidel was the constant theme and exercise of his work. In an honest portrayal, Chile’s work shows the legendary Commander in a crowd of humanity privileged by the love of many that extends way beyond the borders of Cuba.
Chile’s most outstanding photographs are the ones taken of Fidel between 2010 and 2012, which make up this exhibit. Fidel is Fidel has been presented to date across all of Cuba, as well as in Germany, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, China, and is now traveling in the United States, Canary Island, Belgium, United Kingdom, Bolivia, Czech Republic, and again in Brazil and Germany.
Chile as the videographer has participated as director of photography, cameraman or producer, in different Cuban productions and foreign films and television including “Will The Real Terrorist Please Stand Up”, “Ghost Town to Havana”, “Mariela Castro´s March”, “Havana Curveball”, “La Rueda de la Vida”, “The Cuban Way”, “Maestra”, “Campesino”, “Inside Castro´s Cuba”, “Quinceañera” and “Fidel Castro, el Hombre detrás del Mito” and “Essencias; La Colmenita in the United States” among others.
Throughout his life, he has received important recognitions and awards for his work and/or his journalistic activities. His greatest achievements is being awarded the Replica of the Machete of the Generalisimo Máximo Gómez (1998); la condición Hombres y Mujeres Importantes de la Sociedad (2003); la Distinción por la Cultura Nacional (2004); el Premio Anual de Periodismo Juan Gualberto Gómez (2002, 2003 y 2004) and the Félix Elmuza award for distinctive journalism (2005). Dozens of his documentaries and interviews have been winners in national and international competitions.
According to Eusebio Leal Spengler, historian of the city of Havana, "Roberto Chile has managed to forge a singular, always dignified and luminous image of Cuba. His pictures make up a universe of faith and spirituality, perceptible to those who, like him, are capable of loving".