Now on View: Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

View Ellen Silverman's short film, "My Roots Lie Here," at

Click the image above to watch a video of the event on March 5. View Ellen Silverman’s short film, “My Roots Lie Here,” at

A photography exhibition now on view at the Otto G. Richter Library explores life in present-day Cuba as it is intimately reflected in the vibrant tones and textures of homes throughout the island. The wide-format photographic prints featured in Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen serve as vivid windows into decades-old interior spaces, deeply rooted in routine, tradition, and even memories— glimpses of which are brought out through each scene in vivid detail. These immersive scenes are the work of food and travel photographer Ellen Silverman, well-known for her work in celebrated cookbooks, travel magazines, and other artistic mediums. Spare Beauty is one in a series of Silverman’s projects inspired by her travels to Cuba.


Ellen Silverman

“In my first of several trips to Cuba, I was welcomed into people’s kitchens, where I found sparse spaces where time has stopped,” the New York City-based photographer says in her artist statement. “Due to years of lack of money, supplies and equipment, people have been forced to adapt and improvise. While beautiful and visually stimulating to me, these kitchens are the very real circumstances of each person’s day to day life. This series of photographs reflects the personalities and the circumstances of those who inhabit them.”

Silverman visited the library in March for the opening of the exhibition and to present a short film she directed titled My Roots Lie Here, which can be viewed here. Click here to watch the presentation from the event.

This exhibition will run through July 31, 2015 as part of a library-wide exhibition series exploring culinary traditions and influences of South Florida and the Caribbean.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.


This exhibition will run through July 31, 2015 as part of a library-wide exhibition series.

Now On View: An Entrée to Regional Fares and Flavors


Three exhibitions explore the rich culinary traditions of South Florida, Cuba, and the Caribbean as documented in library collections and outside works, from family recipes and photographs of kitchens to cookbooks, restaurant postcards, and iconic menus.

Tropical Gastronomies: Documenting the Food Cultures of South Florida

Surveying the complex food history of South Florida starting with the earliest uses of tropical crops, this exhibition highlights restaurants of the tourism boom, the emergence of Caribbean flavors, and the local impact of modern fresh-food trends. This exhibit is located on Richter Library’s first floor.

Food and Memory: An Exploration of Cuban Cooking, 1857-today

Featuring books, ephemera, and photographs from the Cuban Heritage Collection that illustrate the idea of a distinct Cuban cuisine and how this cuisine shaped the way Cuban culture developed. This exhibit is located on Richter Library’s second floor.

Spare Beauty: The Cuban Kitchen

Highlighting the work of food and travel photographer Ellen Silverman from her travels to Cuba, where she was welcomed into people’s kitchens and found “sparse spaces where time has stopped.” This exhibit is located on Richter Library’s second floor.

UM’s Cuban Heritage Collection Celebrates the Legacy of Maestro Manuel Ochoa

by Rosa Monzon, Cuban Heritage Collection

The exhibit includes a digital component through which viewers can watch videos of performances conducted by Maestro Ochoa.

The exhibition includes a digital component through which viewers can watch videos of Ochoa’s performances.

Maestro Manuel Ochoa, a Cuban exile musician, choral and orchestra conductor, and founder of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, was the focus of a reception at the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC), at the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library. The event served as the official launch of an exhibition that includes Ochoa’s greatest works and documented memories, which are preserved and available for research at the CHC in the Manuel Ochoa Papers.

Ochoa is recognized internationally not only for his numerous contributions to classical Cuban music in the island but also his work in Spain, Austria, and the United States.

Curated by Meiyolet Mendez, librarian at the CHC, the exhibition displays photographs, letters, publications, music scores, and concert programs of Ochoa’s personal life and career. Included is a photograph from the beginning of Ochoa’s career, at the age of 17, conducting members of the Holguin Choral Society, which he created in 1942, even before he had any formal training. Another photograph shows Ochoa leading the Belen Jesuit Choir in Havana years later. Ochoa’s lesson plans and notes on working with child choir singers also are on display.

“One of the most exciting parts of working on this exhibit was the opportunity to bring to life Maestro Ochoa’s entire career,” said Mendez. “I discovered a person who was passionate about music and music education, and who loved sharing that passion with others.”

Also on display is a paper program of the Concierto Sacro, sponsored by the Cuban Catholic Artists Guild, featuring Ochoa’s Coro de Madrigalistas (Madrigal Choir), popularly noted as the best choir in Cuba, in 1956, Havana.

A driving force and inspiration in Ochoa’s life was always his family. One of the highlights of the exhibition is a photograph of his mother, Caridad Ochoa, who was a trained opera singer, plus a tear sheet from The Miami Herald with an article by David Lawrence Jr. celebrating Ochoa as well as his wife and biggest supporter, Sofia Ochoa.

“She was at his side every step of the way,” said their son, Manuel Ochoa Jr. “My father always said she made it easy for him to just stand at a podium and conduct.”

CHC recognized Sofia Ochoa (right) during the event.

Esperanza Bravo de Varona (left), former chair of the CHC, and current chair Maria Estorino recognized Sofia Ochoa (right) during the event.

Sofia’s unwavering support for her husband continued after his death, in 2006. She not only donated his collection but also contributed countless hours as a volunteer in the processing of these records.

“When my mother and I thought about how we would remember and commemorate my father, we wanted a living memorial,” said Ochoa Jr. “We wanted to share his life story so that others, especially young Cubans and Cuban-Americans would be inspired to continue his musical legacy.”

After studying and working in Cuba, Vienna, Spain, and Rome, Ochoa settled in Miami following the Cuban Revolution. On display are photographs of Ochoa’s performances in Miami, such as the first Festiva Symphony Concert at the Colonel Hotel in 1989. There is also a photograph of acclaimed Cuban pianist Zenaida Manfugás, from the same concert.

In Miami Ochoa also created the Society of Arts and Culture of Americas, but his greatest contribution to the city’s cultural development was the creation and leadership of the Miami Symphony Orchestra for more than 25 years. Multiple playbills from its concerts are displayed in the CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, as well as audio and videos of performances.

Guests at the reption.

The celebration of Ochoa’s life and legacy took place at CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, where the Manuel Ochoa Papers are now permanently housed and available for research.

Considered “the highlight of his tenure with the orchestra,” said Ochoa Jr., was a concert in Carnegie Hall in June of 2000, also represented in the exhibition.

“Maestro Ochoa’s legacy lives on in the Miami Symphony Orchestra he founded and in the lives that he touched through his various cultural activities,” said Maria Estorino, chair of the CHC. “But it also lives on here, in the library, where through his own papers, his life, his work, and his passion can be discovered.”

The CHC is home to thousands of books, manuscripts, photographs, and other materials that document the rich history and culture of Cuba and its diaspora. The legacy of Maestro Manuel Ochoa, as well as countless other Cubans and Cuban-Americans, “will not only be preserved here, but it will be shared with our students and with the community,” said Estorino.

“I hope the Maestro Manuel Ochoa Collection continues to inspire and educate future generations to become musicians and conductors, and keep alive the rich tradition of classical music,” Ochoa Jr. said.

The exhibition is available for viewing through the end of summer. For more information about the Cuban Heritage Collection and its events, please visit

View more photos from the event here.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.

The exhibit will be available at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion through summer 2015.

The exhibition is on view at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion through the end of the summer.

Now on Display: Ochoa: Remembering the Life and Legacy of Maestro Manuel Ochoa


We invite you to visit the exhibition currently on display in the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion on the second floor of the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library.

Drawing from his personal papers, this exhibition commemorates the life and work of Cuban-born conductor and orchestra director Manuel Ochoa (1925-2006), whose passion for music led him from Cuba to Austria and Spain and back. In exile, he worked with other Cuban artists to bring to life the traditional music of Cuba and Spain, most notably through the Miami Symphony Orchestra, which he founded and led for almost two decades.

Stay tuned in the coming months for activities related to our spring exhibit. Follow CHC to keep in touch.

Materials on View

The Cuban Heritage Collection has contributed books, photographs, documents, and original art from our holdings to four external exhibitions on view this fall. If you see our materials at any of these, snap a photograph and tag us on Instagram or Twitter @UMCHC.

Wifredo Lam: Imagining New Worlds at the Boston College McMullen Museum of Art, August 30-December 14, 2014, at the High Museum of Art Atlanta, February 14-May 24, 2015

Margarita Cano: Once Upon an Island at the Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus Centre Gallery, September 4-October 31, 2014

Kept at Bay: Art on Guantánamo at Florida International University’s Frost Art Museum, September 10-October 19, 2014

The Exile Experience: Journey to Freedom at Miami-Dade College Museum of Art + Design at Freedom Tower, opening on September 19, 2014


CHC Examines Cuban Rafter Crisis through a Digital Lens

In our ongoing commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the Cuban Rafter Crisis, the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) is launching two online resources providing a close examination of the crisis and critical events surrounding the largest exodus from Cuba since the Mariel Boatlift of 1980.


“Between Despair and Hope”

This month CHC unveiled the new online exhibition, “Between Despair and Hope: Cuban Rafters at the U.S. Naval Base Guantánamo Bay, 1994-1996.” This digital display draws principally from the Collection’s holdings of photographs, documents, ephemera, and objects that together offer insight into the experience of Cubans detained at the base between 1994 and 1996 after attempting to reach the United States on rafts and other make-shift vessels. The physical installation of the exhibition was first hosted in the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion in the fall semester of 2004 to mark the tenth anniversary of the crisis.

“The exhibition allows us the opportunity to leverage the wealth of information and primary sources in the Collection to support a broader understanding of the Cuban Rafter Crisis of 1994,” says CHC Chair Maria Estorino Dooling.


“The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon”

The Collection has additionally launched a redesign of “The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon” site also developed in 2004. Originally created by Dr. Holly Ackerman (now at Duke University Libraries) and Dr. Ray Uzwyshyn (now at Texas State University Libraries) as a Libraries digital initiative, CHC took over site management a few years ago. The interactive site provides a look at the Cuban Rafter Crisis in a larger Caribbean context using maps, timelines, photographs, and videos.

The implementation of these digital initiatives is the result of collaboration between CHC and the Libraries’ Digital Collections and Web and Emerging Technologies teams. “Collaborative efforts such as these support one of the Libraries’ very important missions of providing global access to the historic materials held in our unique and distinctive collections,” says Dean of Libraries Charles Eckman. “These new resources also serve as teaching and learning tools that have relevance across the academic landscape.”

The launch of these sites is meant to coincide with the Guantanamo Public Memory Project exhibit in Miami, currently at the Little Haiti Cultural Center and at the University of Miami at the end of September.




CHC recommends: Wifredo Lam: Imagining New Worlds


If you’re in the Boston area this fall, consider a visit to the McMullen Museum at Boston College, where a major exhibition will open August 30 exploring the canon of Cuban painter Wifredo Lam (1902-1982). Wifredo Lam: Imagining New Worlds will present more than forty paintings and a wide selection of works on paper, examining the full range of the artist’s career. CHC lent materials for this retrospective, which also examines Lam’s many artistic and poetic influences, including Pablo Picasso, André Breton, Federico García Lorca, Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel García Marquez, and Aimé Cesaire. The exhibition will run through December 14.

Exhibition Puts Spotlight on the Cuban Engineer


CHC Chair María Estorino Dooling, Helena Solo-Gabriele (UM College of Engineering), Pete Martínez (ACE), Delfín Molins (CAACE), Victor Pujals (President of CAACE), Dean Amir Mirmiran (FIU College of Engineering and Computing), Amigos Chair Aldo Leiva.

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

It’s all about innovation this summer at the University of Miami Libraries Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC), where the exhibition “Honoring the Cuban Engineer” is now on view. The exhibition, organized with the Association of Cuban Engineers (ACE) and the Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers (CAACE), highlights works of Cuban engineers that have broken new ground in Cuba and in the United States.


The exhibition highlights works of Cuban engineers that have broken new ground in Cuba and in the United States.

Featuring historical resources from CHC and materials lent from its partnering organizations, “Honoring the Cuban Engineer” highlights some of the wonders of Cuban engineering, from early water systems such as the 1938 Dam of Charco Mono, to IBM’s first personal computer, which was released in 1981 with the support of fifty Cuban-American engineers.

More than one hundred community members attended the exhibition’s June 28 opening reception, where they heard from leading engineering professionals and scholars, including Pete Martínez, incoming president of ACE, Delfin Molins of CAACE, Helena Solo-Gabriele of UM’s College of Engineering, and José Mitrani of FIU’s College of Engineering.

“We’re here to honor the Cuban engineer of yesterday, today, and tomorrow,” said Pete Martínez, from the podium at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. “But we pay special homage to those that made the transition from Cuba to the United States leaving everything except their values, their commitment, and their education.”


Pete Martínez, María Estorino Dooling, Agustin Recio (UM College of Engineering), Helena Solo-Gabriele, Gonzalo Sanchez (ACE).

CHC Chair Maria R. Estorino noted how fitting it was for the Collection to host an event like this one to honor the Cuban engineer, alluding to Roberto C. Goizueta, the namesake of CHC’s home and the foundation that has provided support for many of the Collection’s initiatives. “Mr. Goizueta is known for his business leadership and acumen as CEO of the Coca-Cola Company from 1981 until his death in 1997, but he began his career in the technical department of the Coca-Cola Company in Cuba as a chemical engineer,” said Estorino.

Support for the event was provided by the Association of Cuban Engineers, Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers, UM’s College of Engineering, FIU’s College of Engineering, and the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection. The open bar at the event was provided courtesy of Bacardi. “Honoring the Cuban Engineer” will run through December.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.

Pete Martínez from the Association of Cuban Engineers

Pete Martínez from the Association of Cuban Engineers.

Exhibition Features Original Works of Gastón Baquero

Author and Journalist Who Spent Forty Years in Exile Honored with Out of the Shadows at the Cuban Heritage Collection

by Sarah Block, Libraries Communications

Gastón Baquero speaking at Havana’s Club Atenas on the centenary of Juan Gualberto Gómez’s birth, 1954.

Gastón Baquero speaking at Havana’s Club Atenas on the centenary of Juan Gualberto Gómez’s birth, 1954.

The University of Miami Libraries Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) commemorates one hundred years since the birth of Cuban literary great Gastón Baquero (1914-1997) with Out of the Shadows, an exhibition featuring a collection of the author’s personal papers. Currently on display through June, the exhibition includes manuscripts, photographs, and private correspondence, which together provide insight into Gastón Baquero’s life during a span of forty years that he spent in exile from the island.

“Many of us grew up with the absence of Gastón Baquero in our studies of Cuban literature,” explained Eva Reyes Cisnero, a conservation assistant at the Libraries’ Conservation Lab who interned with CHC to help prepare Out of the Shadows. For the exhibition, Reyes organized materials from the poet and journalist’s life in exile, drawing principally from the Gastón Baquero Papers acquired by CHC in 1996. “I went from having no idea who Baquero was, to realizing there’s this writer who significantly impacted Cuban poetry, but who was banished from our cultural memory,” Reyes said.

An important literary force in Havana prior to the Cuban Revolution, Baquero gained recognition as a poet with the 1942 publications of Poemas and Saúl sobre su espada. He was a member of the avant-garde literary collective Orígenes, before he changed his focus to journalism, writing a column for the popular newspaper El Diario de la Marina. “Baquero used the column to voice his concerns about the future of Cuban society,” Reyes said.

Baquero went into exile soon after Fidel Castro’s takeover of the country in 1959, prompted by the arrival of a cautionary message, an invitation to meet with guerilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara. He fled to Madrid, Spain, that night, where he continued to live until his death in 1997 from natural causes. A facsimile of Baquero’s final article for El Diario de la Marina, a goodbye letter, is featured in the exhibition, along with a handful of publications and manuscripts of poems that he was able to take with him.

The exhibition focuses largely on the author’s life in the time that followed his sudden departure from the island. Hardcover poetry compilations—alongside original manuscripts of poems—demonstrate Baquero’s successful return to writing poetry following a fifteen-year hiatus from the craft. Within his first year in Spain he published Poemas escritos en España.

The exhibition also features Baquero’s personal communications with Cuban anthropologist, writer, and author Lydia Cabrera, which Reyes was able to track from both writers’ permanent collections at CHC (Cabrera’s was donated in 1991). Reyes mentioned that Baquero, true to his journalism background, always kept records—even copies of his outgoing mail. “Poets and writers who came of age during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s continued to write to each other throughout their lives,” said Meiyolet Mendez, CHC librarian and lead curator of Out of the Shadows.

The author’s correspondence with composer Aurelio de la Vega is also highlighted in the exhibition. De la Vega went into exile the same year as Baquero, and later composed a musical score to five of his poems from the 1984 compilation, Magias e invenciones.

Baquero’s reinstatement as a poet, however, never fully replaced his journalistic endeavors. He became a reporter for three Spanish newspapers and in the 1980s began contributing stories to The Miami Herald, which was when CHC initiated contact with the author about acquiring his personal papers and library. The Gastón Baquero Papers was the first major collection acquisition facilitated by the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection.

“The acquisition enhanced not only the Cuban Heritage Collection, but the Libraries’ general collection as well,” said Chair Maria R. Estorino Dooling, explaining that many texts from the author’s personal collection are now a part of the Libraries’ Spanish language holdings. Acquiring the Gastón Baquero Papers was an immediate goal of the Amigos upon its formation in 1995, and they raised the funds to purchase it from the author. “The Baquero Papers represents and honors the history of support the Amigos has provided to the Cuban Heritage Collection,” Estorino said.

Out of the Shadows is now coinciding with National Poetry Month in the United States and the O, Miami Poetry Festival, running through April to further the reach of poetry in Miami-Dade County. CHC launched a Twitter profile for Baquero (@GBaquero­_UMCHC) at the beginning of the month to support the festival’s goal, and will continue to tweet lines from Baquero’s works for the duration of the exhibition.

Out of the Shadows is on view through June in the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion at the Cuban Heritage Collection, located on the second floor of the Otto G. Richter Library. For more information about the exhibition, please call 305-284-4900, or visit

Photograph of Gastón Baquero from “Aniversario del ‘Club Atenas’ en el Centenario de Juan G. Gómez.” Revista Atenas. Oct. 1954