In Conversation: Cuba in Revolution

8 Nov 2013

The Photographers' Gallery

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Just off Oxford Street so accessible by bus services to Oxford Street and a 2 minute walk from Oxford Circus Tube Station.

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Richard Gott and Arki Busson, in a discussion chaired by Mark Sanders, will examine the ability of the Cuba In Revolution photographs to bring history to life. To what extent do photographs construct a mythical reality rather than an accurate portrayal? To what degree did the Cuban revolutionaries control the image of the revolution? What makes the photography of the Cuban Revolution distinct from the images of other conflicts? Richard Gott was present when the photographs of Che Guevara's dead body were taken and as a 'witness' he will contextualise the visual moment. Arki Busson will explain why he has encouraged the Arpad A Busson Foundation to research and display photographs of revolution. Richard Gott is a journalist and historian. He worked at the Royal Institute for International Affairs before travelling to Latin America as a freelance journalist for The Guardian. In the 1960s, he helped establish the Instituto de Estudios Internacionales of the University of Chile. He visited Cuba for the first time in 1963 and was present in Vallegrande, Bolivia in October 1967 where he was the first journalist to make positive identification of Che Guevara's body. His book Guerrilla Movements in Latin America (1970) was a classic example of contemporary historical research. Until 1994, he worked for The Guardian as foreign correspondent, features editor and literary editor. His recent books include: Cuba: A New History (2004), Hugo Chavez & The Bolivarian Revolution (2005) and Britain's Empire: Resistance, Repression and Revolt (2011). Richard Gott has been reporting on Latin America for more than forty years. Arki Busson is a financier and philanthropist. He has been fascinated by reportage photography for many years. He is the inspiration behind the Arpad A. Busson Foundation - an independent institution that encourages the study of the interaction between political revolution and the photographic image. The mission statement of the Foundation declares that “the foundation hopes that in exhibiting collections of photographs from turbulent periods of recent history this will stimulate discussion as to whether a photograph can be more than a mere 'snapshot of a moment' but also whether it can act as a 'visual motor for historical change'. The Cuba in Revolution collection has been exhibited in New York and Moscow. The Foundation is currently also involved in the assembly of collections of photographs on Apartheid South Africa (1948-1996) and Western Insurrectionaries (1965-1975).

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