Luisa Perez de Zambrana, the 1837-born Cuban poet who married a man of letters, saw the lustre of her sweet homeland—her Caribbean jewel—frozen in a series of quotidian tableaux. She was intoxicated by all of it: simple houses, stills of Cuban childhood, ordinary women and men and the kinship they offered, “the church where our ageing grandmother clasped our hands together and thought us how to pray”. For her, that sentimental notion of patria—which writer Louis A Perez Jr. calls “a place-bound source of self identification” and “a means of self-actualisation”—was alive, and best expressed when the familiar become revelatory. Rich metaphors could be spun from deeply commonplace experiences, from pastoral outlooks and conversations and the weather and everyday objects.
Here, Museum offers up unexpected groupings of things alongside a suite of Cuban-inspired shoes—CHANEL’s dandy derbies to be exact. They were first presented in an open-air Resort show in Havana, the frenzy of life continuing around it.