Photographer Rose Marie Cromwell‘s relationship with Cuba is complicated, she says. Over the past four years she has taken multiple trips to the country, putting together a unique body of work that reads like bits and pieces of multiple stories called Everything Arrives. Her experiences in Cuba have been a mix of feeling part of a close community, while always being reminded that she is an outsider. This duo of experiences is something she tries to emulate in her work by combining images of everyday Cuban rituals with images that capture the country in new ways, far from the traditional representations photographed over the years. The result feels both near and far—we are led into intimate, vulnerable moments that feel voyeruristic at times, while kept at a distance with questions left unanswered.
Cromwell takes the title of the work from a line from a Reinaldo Arenas poem in which he describes himself on the streets of Havana amidst an oppressive reality. She tells of what happens next; “Finally, “everything arrives” and he is able to exercise agency in the simplest of ways; he mentally frees himself from his present physical state and elevates himself to a world of “incessant jingling.” Here, in this state, he floats. Everything is open. Nothing is closed.”