celebrating people of color in the arts

Terrence Jennings: Invincible Cuba

In photography on May 22, 2009 at 8:38 pm
Supa Boy, Terrence Jennings Havanna, Cuba. 2000.

 of note interviews photographer Terrence Jennings, as part of its FOCUS series. 

of note: Take us through this image. What’s the story behind capturing it? 

Terrence Jennings: The young boy in this photograph is Bernardo, Jr. He’s standing in front of a house that was being rebuilt. Stacked around its frame were bricks and other building materials. Bernardo ran to the top of the bricks. He wanted to show me that he could bend the piece of metal in his hand. I remember him saying, “Look what I can do.”

of note: You say this photograph is one of your personal favorites. Why does it resonate with you?

Terrence Jennings: For me it represents the mindset of the Cuban people. It shows the strength and resilience of youth. When you’re young, you think you’re invincible. Bending the metal—as Bernardo is doing—is a euphemism for fighting against the hands that betray you. This image is a testimony of Cuba’s youth rebuilding their nation. It’s the younger generation that will have to take up the torch.  

of note: Is there a universal message here? 

Terrence Jennings: Forward ever. Backward never—that’s the motto of resilience I think of when I see this. Let’s build on what’s happened in the past and learn our lessons and move forward.

– Terrence Jennings



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