Fine Art Photography Daily

CENTER’s Exhibitor’s Choice 3rd Place Award: Joan Alvado

Cuban Muslims 01

©Joan Alvado

Joan Alvado received 3rd Place in CENTER’s Exhibitor’s Choice Award. His project, Cuban Muslims, looks at one of the last countries in the world where Islam has entered. Krzystof Candrowicz, Artistic director of Hamburg Triennial of Photography selected Joan’s work for this award and his statement is below.

The Choice Awards recognize outstanding photographers working in all processes and subject matter. The Awards are divided into four categories: Curator’s Choice, Editor’s Choice, Director’s Choice and Exhibitor’s Choice. Winners receive recognition via exhibition, publication, portfolio reviews and more. The Choice Award winners are invited to participate in an exhibition in Santa Fe, New Mexico during Review Santa Fe.

Krzysztof Candrowicz is a curator, art director, researcher and educator. He is the Co-founder and director of the International Festival of Photography in Lodz and Foundation of Visual Education. Since January 2014, he works as artistic director of the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg.

Open calls mean diversity. Open calls made the photography world more inclusive. Open calls gave opportunities for artists to be visible and for curators to discover outstanding work. The submission procedure itself is rather technical, but on both sides of this process people are behind it. Therefore preparing a proper portfolio and final curator’s choice make this practice so human. Selection is our daily life. We are natural born curators.

I feel thankful for being a part of the Choice Awards. It’s a way to discover new works, waves and tendencies. On the one hand going through hundreds of applications and mixtures of all kinds of projects can be a challenging practice but for me it’s first of all a very absorbing activity that opens a way to discover and understand other perspectives.

This time I noticed there was a strong focus on social, economic and environmental changes in society. I observed that more and more projects were kind of personal statements about the current global situation. Consequently I have chosen three bodies of work that provided evidence of and a comment on certain issues of importance that are found in society. I’m satisfied that photography as a technology and medium remains transparent and the main focus goes to process observation, recognition and interpretation.

Cuban Muslims 02

©Joan Alvado

Joan Alvado’s works have been published in media like Newswek, The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, La Republicca, Polka, El Pais, Hurriyet, VICE, Descobrir Catalunya, 7K magazine, Huffington Post, Voima or Le Point, among others. Part of his work has been exhibited in several events and photo festivals in Spain, Cuba, Turkey, France, Slovenia or Italy. Since 2013, he collaborates with the collective of turkish photographers NAR Photos. His archive is distributed by agencies like AFP, Getty Images, Laif or Luz Photo.

In 2015, his project “School of Shepherds” receives the “Lens Culture Emerging Talent Award”, and is selected for the “Descubrimientos PhotoEspaña” program. In 2016, his project “Cuban Muslims” wins the “New FNAC Photography Talent” award in Spain.

Cuban Muslims 03

©Joan Alvado


Cuba is one of the last countries in the world where Islam has entered. Although is still widely unknown, the number of Cubans embracing Islam has constantly increased in the recent years. This growth is strongly linked with the current scenario of changes in Cuba, which includes a higher tolerance towards religions.

With a current population around 3.000, Cuban Muslims are present in several districts of La Habana but also have expanded to many other provinces, like Camagüey, Santiago or Varadero.

 Why a Muslim community is born in the middle of a Socialist Caribbean Island?

The “Cuban Muslims” project is not aiming to give closed answers, but provide clues for reflection. By delving into one of the most unique Muslim communities worldwide, an innovative approach to Cuba and Islam is generated. The goal is to break visual stereotypes, questioning issues like identity, faith and traditions.

Cuban Muslims 04

©Joan Alvado

Cuban Muslims 05

©Joan Alvado

Cuban Muslims 06

©Joan Alvado

Cuban Muslims 07

©Joan Alvado

Cuban Muslims 08

©Joan Alvado

Cuban Muslims 09

©Joan Alvado

Cuban Muslims 10

©Joan Alvado

Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.

NEXT | >
< | PREV