Michael Naify

Artist Statement – Cuba

My work with Cuba grows naturally out of my over 30 years of traveling in Latin cultures from Italy to Brazil. Upon arrival in Cuba I was struck by its people’s warmth and other deep cultural similarities with Brazil. I felt immediately at home and welcomed in Havana.

I went to Cuba with the (improbable) hope of meeting a boxer, boxing being Cuba’s national sport second only to baseball.   As such, boxers stand out as some of Cuba’s great emblematic sports heroes.  I was lucky enough to find  Enrique, a former boxer who was willing to tell me his story and invite me into his family.  Enrique’s life, typical of a former boxer, is inherently bittersweet – scarred by disappointments and broken dreams. His story is a parable of Havana, itself, which despite years of neglect and decay, radiates pride, a spectacular charm and a grand past.

In this body of work I use sequencing, juxtaposition and the negative image to accentuate what I saw and experienced through Enrique and his story. I use these techniques in order to bring to about a deeper insight into the country in order to highlight what is easily overlooked.

Download Link: Artist Statement – Cuba

Artist Statement – Evidence

At its core, my art comes from reflection on a sense of imminent threat to basic qualities of life by the manipulation of political imagery and disinformation. I choose the means and techniques of photography as they provide the most immediate and powerful starting point for addressing that subversion, fighting fire with fire.

My project, EVIDENCE, was born from the shock and anxiety caused by the wide-ranging distortions accompanying the ‘Trump effect’. By the use of obscured images and blended text I pluck at the viewers’ critical contemplation of the abstracted image and its equivocal potential for both subversion and distortion. My techniques, in the end, both track and expose those used to mix, manipulate, and obscure truth and fiction for political ends.

Download Link: Artist Statement – Evidence