Two Citizens of Utopia

Ibrahim Miranda and Douglas Pérez

July through October 2012


Left: Ibrahim Miranda, from the series Mapas, 2008-2012.
Right: Douglas Pérez, Retiro/Retreat, 2010.

Do we know our country? Our city? As children, our impressions are etched from experience – we learn “by heart” the profile of our coasts, the sinuous lines of our rivers, the layout of our streets and avenues, the façades of our buildings. The familiarity of our journey is formed from consistency. And just as a detour reveals a new path, Ibrahim Miranda and Douglas Pérez explode our naïve confidence and divert our gaze to unusual geographies.

Thomas More’s Utopia was a work of satire, contrasting the corruption of English society with the marvels that took place on his imaginary island. Flooding our eyes with overflowing depictions of their native city and country, Ibrahim Miranda and Douglas Pérez offer a previously unimagined Havana, Cuba. Miranda blends cultural imagery such as the pottery used in Afro-Cuban rituals and classical Greek sculpture while Perez’s frenetic cityscapes include cranes amidst the Havana skyline, an indication of a new, yet stalled economy. In essence, these cultural geographies depict a revised historical account of the island and the uncertainty of its future.

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