In Esperando, which means both waiting and anticipating, photographer Jermain Cikic focuses on the duality of Cuba—showing the contrasts between city and countryside as well as the differences between the popular perception of Cuba and the realities its inhabitants face. In his photography, the cities represent vibrant dynamism, the countryside embodies tradition, simplicity, and natural beauty, capturing both so as to shine a light on the struggle and spirit of the people of Cuba. Esperando encapsulates how Cubans navigate their lives through challenges and uncertainties while simultaneously reflecting their resilience and resourcefulness in the context of a deep financial crisis.
The country has food shortages, growing inflation, and frequent power cuts, so while Western tourists feast on authentic cigars in classic old-timers, many locals line up in front of grocery stores hoping to buy essential food items. The inequalities and disparities in access to goods and services are vast, and many Cubans are left with low wages, limited access to basic necessities, and inadequate infrastructure.
By photographing their daily lives, Cikic hopes to amplify the voices of those who have been disadvantaged by colonial history as well as by war and natural disasters. Esperando is, in this sense, another way of showing how international powers can affect people on a local as much as on an individual scale. And how we all share a responsibility to take care of it.