TransCuba by Mariette Pathy Allen

Yeelen Gallery presents TransCuba, a solo exhibition by Mariette Pathy Allen. For more than 30 years, New York based photographer Allen has been documenting transgender culture worldwide, and has for her show at Yeelen captured the transgender community of Cuba through 80 vibrant color photographs. Opening in October 2015 in one of the largest constituencies of Cubans and Cuban-Americans outside of the mother country, never has TransCuba been as relevant in time and place than in Miami.


“We are thrilled about this compelling body of work by Mariette Pathy Allen in TransCuba – both in our aim to foster relationships with the surrounding neighborhood, and in presenting content that expresses the diversity of our city,” said Karla Ferguson, gallery owner and director. “Yeelen is committed to the artistic growth from the inside outward, pioneering exhibitions that enlighten the mind and foster an understanding of local culture and beyond.”


Allen’s work focuses on the details of the everyday lives of her transgender subjects, engaging with family and friends and the community at large in Cuba; and revealing the growing visibility and acceptance in a country whose government is transitioning into a more “relaxed” model of communism under Raúl Castro’s presidency. The central TransCuba protagonists are Amanda, Nomi and Malu, three remarkable people with whom Allen formed close bonds over the course of visits she made to Cuba in 2012 and 2013. Allen gained full access to photograph them and their friends in the privacy of their homes, as well as outside at restaurants and clubs, at the beach, on the streets of Havana, at performances, and at special events. Strong, smart, active, and optimistic, the transgender people Allen depicts in TransCuba savor their new freedom to be able to be themselves publicly, while continuing to overcome challenges, such as health issues, and lack of steady work and money.

Among Allen’s images, viewers are privy to a tender moment with Nomi with her boyfriend Miguel; Malu, with her parents and sister, in front of their home; a sweeping portrait of Amanda by the river against the Havana skyline; Yanet at home sitting proudly beside her artwork; Charito feeding a oneweek-old piglet; Sissi styling her niece’s hair who holds a sleeping child in her arms; and a view of the rooftops of Havana from Natalie’s window. The photographs, and candid supporting interviews, provide an intimate and multi-layered portrait of Cuba and this special community of people that is very different from the stereotypical, one- dimensional depiction of transgender individuals we are so often accustomed to seeing in photographs and in films. More about Mariette Pathy Allen Mariette Pathy Allen has been photographing the transgender community for over 30 years. Her first book

“Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them” was groundbreaking in its investigation of a misunderstood community; while her second book, “The Gender Frontier,” is a collection of photographs, interviews, and essays covering political activism, youth, and the range of people that identify as transgender in mainland USA. Allen’s life’s work is currently being archived by Duke University’s Rare Book and Manuscripts Library, and the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s Studies. Additionally, Allen’s background as a painter frequently leads her to photographic investigations of color, space, and cultural juxtapositions such as east/west, old/new, handmade/manufactured. For more information about Allen’s TransCuba project, visit the website at More about Yeelen Gallery Yeelen Gallery (“Yeelen”) is an Arts incubator dedicated to the promotion and expression of contemporary urban culture. Occupying more than 13,000+ square-feet of converted industrial space in Miami’s storied Little Haiti neighborhood, a core aspect of Yeelen’s program includes mounting dynamic and ambitious exhibitions in its four expansive spaces; and maintaining a focus on figurative art, realism, and symbolism by employing various media such painting, photography, and drawing.


Please contact 954.235.4758 for more information, or visit the website at

Yeelen Gallery

294 NW 54th Street, Miami , FL

Loading Map....