Insular Night: Invisible Gardens focuses on the urban life of contemporary Cuba and is the result of multiple journeys to the island from 2014 to 2018. The conceptual thread that binds the work together is the notion of ‘insularity’, which is a decisive feature of Cuban culture. This geographical concept, highlighting the condition of living surrounded by water, allowed me to approach the way Cubans gaze at what lies beyond their margins and to explore the contradictory effects of the foreign presence in the island – a crucial question in Cuba particularly since the early 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the country gradually opened itself to tourism and capitalism.
Rodrigo Sombra was born in Bahia, Brazil, in 1986. His work has appeared in multiple publications, including Der Greif, Aint-bad, Fotoroom, Folha de São Paulo and Nin. In 2012, he joined the group exhibition “Uma Visita Ao Benin,” dedicated to the country of Benin, Africa, in the Museu Afro Brasil, São Paulo. His work was also shown in group shows in San Francisco, California, where he lived from 2012 to 2015. Insular Night: Invisible Gardens, his series on Cuba, will be presented as a solo exhibition at Galeria São Paulo Flutuante, in São Paulo in March 2019.
The Paper Journal Annual 2019 is the result of a call-out which ran in June-July 2018, giving our readers the opportunity to submit their work for the potential to be published in our inaugural photobook series. After 3 weeks and 421 submissions, 3 stand-out artists – Eleonora Agostini, Kovi Konowiecki and Rodrigo Sombra – were chosen by our Founding Editor in Chief Patricia Karallis and Editor Giada De Agostinis, resulting in 3 separate photobooks, all which are available to pre-order now.