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The Light in Cuban Eyes

In 2002, art collector and philanthropist Madeleine P. Plonsker began traveling to Cuba to uncover Havana’s thriving art scene. The Light in Cuban Eyes: Lake Forest College’s Madeleine P. Plonsker Collection of Contemporary Cuban Photography focuses on Cuban photography between 1992-2012. These years cover Cuba’s “Special Period,” a desperate time resulting from the withdrawal of financial support from the former Soviet Union that continues to present day. 

The 50 artists who comprise this bilingual book—including Juan Carlos Alom, Adrián Fernández Milanés, Marta María Pérez Bravo, Cirenaica Moreira, and Glenda León—shoot their worlds in styles ranging from fabulist to gritty. This is world-class work, yet the artists are often known only to the small population of collectors fortunate enough to have traveled to this tightly restricted country, or through art world reputations that have only recently started to expand beyond the island.

Lake Forest College’s Madeleine P. Plonsker Collection of Contemporary Cuban Photography is composed of 170 pieces; The Light in Cuban Eyes is the first North American publication with support from the Cuban Ministry of Culture and Fototeca de Cuba, Cuba’s repository of photography comparable in function to the Smithsonian Photography Department in Washington, D.C. 

 “The range of photographers and their magnetic images reminds us of the complexity of contemporary Cuban culture.This is a book that reflects unique qualities about this special island, its sense of place and people, while also claiming a place for this array of work within the context of the best photography in our day.”

—Tom L. Freudenheim, Chairman, Board of Trustees, American Federation of Arts (AFA) and contributor to The Wall Street Journal


“Looking through this remarkable selection of images by native Cuban artists, one feels the rich and unique history of this island nation.  Yet from a country where artists have struggled for decades to freely express themselves, here we see also an extraordinary scope of diverse talent that transcends the island’s borders to find its place as a potent voice in the global art community.  It’s unmistakeable in these poignant works of art: Cuba is on the cusp of transition, and the future is around the corner.”

—Robert Mann, Owner of the Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY


English /Spanish
March World First Publication
11 x 11  350 pp
170 photographs
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-941423-90-5 $50.00


Click here to download a sample of the book!

Click here to view the press release.

Click here to view advance praise.

Click here for an interview with Madeleine P. Plonsker.