This wonderful image titled “Olga, Havana” from Cuban photographer Jose A. Figueroa haunts and mesmerizes us. It’s included in the engrossing “Cuba in Revolution” exhibition at the International Center of Photography in New York City. The photograph is part of Figueroa’s “Exiles” series of images.
The picture seems joyful and even whimsical as Olga waves goodbye and walks across the tarmac to board a plane bound overseas. But in the context of the series, it’s a sad image. It’s one of a half-dozen pix documenting her family gathering at the same home every year over a period of several years.
In each photo, the number of family members is fewer as more of them depart Cuba for a life of exile. In the first image, a dozen or so extended family members pose merrily for the camera. In the penultimate image, there are only three people left. The final image is “Olga, Havana.”