Here’s Part V of a series of documentary photographs I shot 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 final rehearsal session as well as photographs from the “HOME: An Artistic Celebration of Community” Opening VIP event. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series of photographs as much as I had shooting them. It was a real joy to witness the creative process between these fiercely passionate artists as well as to help bring their story to light.
When it was over, I was a bit saddened. This experience was one of the most challenging and rewarding I’ve had as a photographer. Watching Isanusi fight through his physical limitations, Frankie Red’s passion and energy and Dario patiently holding it all together with a command and professionalism that would humble a high-level corporate VP. Then there was Perla. A thing of beauty gliding across the floor with a grace that belied her age. It was a very special experience to have witnessed.
Again, special thanks to ArtServe Executive Director Craig W. Johnson, ArtServe Marketing manager Ed King and ArtServe Curator Sophie Bonet for allowing me to be a part of this very special exhibition. Surely, it won’t be the last time we work together.
Click the image below to view a gallery of images taken at the HOME: An Artistic Celebration of Community VIP Preview Night