Here’s Part III of a series of documentary photographs that were part of “HOME: An Artistic Celebration of Community” presented by ArtServe, a Fort Lauderdale based non-profit organization that fosters and promotes artistic growth in South Florida.
‘HOME’ explored metaphors of habitat and the related idea of belonging, the multi-disciplinary exhibition included the unveiling of ArtServe’s 30th Anniversary artistic season, a gallery display by local visual artists and a performance art piece featuring former Miami City Ballet dancer and stroke survivor Isanusi Garcia Rodriguez and his mother, Perla Rodriguez, a renowned former ballet dancer from Cuba.
Isanusi was hit by a brain aneurysm in 2012 that nearly killed him. The stroke left him speechless and paralyzed on his right side, with little ability to walk or talk, much less dance. His discipline from a lifetime of dance training helped him persist with tedious physical and speech therapy despite frequent frustration and physical pain. Isanusi was forced to reinvent himself, subsequently discovering a new joy and purpose in life through a celebration of his Cuban heritage and transcendence of his physical limitations.
The exhibit kicked off August 22nd of 2019 and was on display through September 27 in the ArtServe Gallery. My contribution was a series of photographs documenting the rehearsal sessions with (mainly) Isanusi, his mother Perla, and spoken word artist Frankie Red. ArtServe’s Dario J. Moore, a Broward-based director and choreographer, was tasked with bringing the concept of ‘home’ to life.
Over the course of several weeks, I attended the rehearsal sessions at ArtServe with my full-frame Pentax K-1 and a few good lenses, trying to keep out of the way and focus on the dynamics of the sessions – especially the interactions between these fiercely passionate creative artists. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as a photographer.
Not sure why I’ve waited this long to post the photographs considering how proud I am of them. Here are images from the third rehearsal. A rehearsal in which Isanusi suffered a physical setback and was unable to attend, which complicated things for Isanusi’s mother and Frankie Red, a spoken word artist who was attending her very first rehearsal. Despite the sudden challenge, choreographer Dario Moore directed the session with great patience and Frankie Red held nothing back.
Then there was Perla. She was treat to behold from session number one. At almost 70 years old and doing double duty due to the absence of her son, watching her move with such remarkable grace made this session one of my favorites. Enjoy the photographs…