HAVANA, Nov. 18th (HT) It’s clear that Gabriel Guerra Bianchini is one of these attentive and sensitive people who sees stray animals,left to their own fate, as they wander down any of Havana’s streets. We are everyone else, indifferent, blind, completely immersed in our own affairs, in the urgency or comfort of our superior existence.
Guerra Bianchini says that his series “Maybe they’ll see us now” has a “social purpose”. As you can see, his idea of “society” doesn’t exclude these dogs and cats who thrive on street corners and, invisible, they run into the widespread apathy of those who should be protecting them.
These photo collages depict an (ir)responsibility which concerns all civil and political society, as a hyperbole.
Groups of activists have been advocating for an Animal Protection Act here in Cuba for years now, which of course, would include other species that are subjected to different forms of abuse. This movement has gained visibility on social media recently, as well as on our streets.
An Animal Protection Act would not only challenge indiscriminate abandonment but would also promote better frameworks for looking after, providing treatment and a sustainable way of living with animals in general. According to some activists, it would also ban or restrictively regulate practices such as dog and cockfighting.
This week, discussion on social media and the action of a group of protectors managed to rescue some stray animals who were rounded up during a flash offensive by Zoonosis (although many were put down almost immediately), as part of the city’s preparations before the visit of the Spanish monarchs and other guests to the capital to celebrate Havana’s 500th anniversary.
Guerra Bianchini says that this photography project is based on “a constructive, optimistic philosophy.” In his opinion, “the path towards an Animal Protection Act has already been paved.”
Like in a few developed nations, this path implies a clear willingness on the behalf of the government, yet it also calls for high levels of social sensitivity, which needs to come beforehand.
Guerra Bianchini says that “Awareness needs to be created first.”