Cuba's Sparse and Poetic Storefront Windows

Window-dressers employed by Cuba’s bureau of advertising work to transform actual scarcity into imaginative displays.

by Alexa Hoyer
Dec 27 2017, 10:22pm

All photos by Alexa Hoyer

Storefront window displays typically reflect the dreams and desires of consumerism and late capitalism. Under communist rule in Cuba, they reveal a very different story. From the Revolution through the “special period” following the fall of the Soviet Union and Castro’s death, window-dressers employed by the island nation's government-run advertising bureau were tasked with transforming actual scarcity into utopian visions of surplus and industry.

Struck by their enigmatic, sculptural, and out-of-time beauty, the Germany-born, Brooklyn-based artist Alexa Hoyer researched and shot her photo series over a two-year period. Storefronts invites us to glimpse into the dreams and cultural subconscious of a country on the brink. "I'm sort of invisible. But there are really beautiful and wonderful things that are invisible, and that remain unseen," Romero Salazar, a window-dresser employed in Havana, told her.

Check out Storefronts below:

See the rest of the photos on Alexa Hoyer's website.

travel photos
Alexa Hoyer