Celia Cruz and other iconic Cuban artists have made their way to the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. thanks to the brilliant work of photographer, Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte.
In a portrait series titled “Cuba Out of Cuba,” Duarte, in collaboration with Tico Torres, presents a portfolio of 18 limited edition photos acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for its permanent collection. This includes their iconic Celia Cruz photograph, “¡Yo soy de Cuba la voz – Guantanamera!”
SLAY, Celia, SLAY!
As photographers who worked with “La Guarachera de Cuba” for 12 years, and even published a book titled “Presenting Celia Cruz,” they feel honored to feature their work and the best of Cuba’s culture in the renowned museum.
“For Latinos and Cubans specifically, Celia is a musical legend. For us, Celia was the light. A beacon. She was a wonderful person with amazing energy. You knew you were in the presence of an extraordinary human being. And a voice that not only moved you, but shook the entire room!,” Duarte expressed in an interview with Billboard.
credit: giphy.com / Latin Grammy
Other Cuban artists featured in this epic portrait collection are Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Paquito D’Rivera, Gloria Estefan, Emilio Estefan, Arturo O’Farrill, Carlos “Patato” Valdés, Andy García, Cristina Saralegui, Carmen Herrera, Emilio Sanchez, Enrique Riverón, Luis Cruz Azaceta, José Bedia, Isabel, Toledo, Narciso Rodriguez, Adolfo Sardiña, Nilo Cruz, and Nena Goodman.
The “Cuba Out of Cuba” series, according to Duarte, began in 1994 “while commissioned for a shoot for Art & Antiques Magazine featuring Cuban artists that lived in the United States for many years as well as those that had recently arrived from Cuba.” The project then expanded to include artists, writers, actors, designers, and more.
“This project is very close to our hearts and is a documentation of the Cuba we knew and grew up in, which is the Cuba that is outside of Cuba.”
Check out more photos from the “Cuba Out of Cuba” series portrait, here.