Juan Carlos Alom (Cuba, 1964) is the first artist to exhibit inside The Black Box — a multifunctional exhibition space on the ground floor of Tribe Caribe. His solo show titled ‘Cayo Hueso’ documents the three year restoration of the building itself, the neighborhood’s rich music legacy, and the Cuban people who live it daily. The show is curated by Sachie Hernandez of La Sindical as part of our vision to amplify the works of Cuban and Pan-Caribbean artists.
"Cayo Hueso is a musical neighborhood, it has very deep roots in Cuban music, especially in rumba, Juan Formell and Chano Pozo were born here." — Juan Carlos Alom
One of the catalysts for the show is Alom's enthusiasm collaborating on a project that creates a space to unite the fusion of Caribbean, African, Caribbean, and North American musicians with Cuban musicians and involve the neighborhood in a celebratory process. Alom began documenting the restoration of the 1930's eclectic colonial building from the very beginning of construction. He photographed the original state of the building, how it evolved, the families, and the workers culminating in a "photographic essay" of Cayo Hueso.
Alom’s experimental 16mm short-film also titled ‘Cayo Hueso’ loops every 12 minutes in a vertical diptych format at the center of the gallery. The film features an original composition of Afro-Cuban jazz by Andrés Levín. The composition is a tribute to the origins of the style born in this neighborhood when Chano Pozo migrated North, played percussion for Dizzy Gillespie, and brought the style back home to Cuba. The intentional use of 20 year old 16 mm film, battered and in decay, tells the story of a building that was battered and in decay. The nucleus of the film is the building. From this vantage point it sweeps out to the surrounding neighborhood. Filmed over two days, Alom attempts to give a portrait of the barrio. He says this portrait "wasn't in-depth, but I can't say it was superficial either."
"It was like going on a walk. I found a relationship between the people of the barrio and established a dialogue with how they communicated with their experience."
Cayo Hueso is on exhibition through Spring 2023. Schedule your visit via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, here's a glimpse inside The Black Box featuring 'CAYO HUESO' BY JUAN CARLOS ALOM.