Yellow, Last Chinese in Cuba
On June 3, 1847, the first Chinese arrived in Havana. A total of 206 survivors out of the 300 emigrants who embarked 5 months earlier in the Cantonese port of Amoy. These first Chinese workers were called "coolies". They looked for a decent job to send money to their families in Canton and signed abusive contracts, so many of them lived in Cuba in conditions of semi-slavery.
Coolies and more compatriots, who arrived from California in the 1890s because of racism problems in the United States, made up the Chinese community with up to 150.000 inhabitants. Chinese emigrants were mainly men. In the second half of the 19th century, they mixed primarily with women of African origin, thus leaving their mark on the racial identity of the Cuban people.
Currently, the 13 Chinese societies in the Chinese towns in Cuba have registered around 50 Chinese inhabitants born in China, mainly in Guangdong province, who are very old, but still remain alive, located in different cities of Cuba. A halo of melancholy envelops the Chinese community in Cuba: many memories, traces of its former splendor, photos and a few traditions still alive.
Yellow , Last Chinese in Cuba project, focuses on the reduced Chinese community that is still present in Cuba today, documenting their memories, surroundings and the few places they frequent. A long term project in which Luis Alarcón seeks to find all the Chinese born in China who live in Cuba, they are part of the history of one of the diasporas of the Chinese people. It´s a small personal tribute to all the Chinese emigrants who had to leave their home in search of prosperity.
Luis Alarcón (b. 1974) is based in Havana. He is a professional photographer specialized in history, anthropology, genetics, migrations and miscegenation among the different ethnic groups that populated the island. Storytelling focused on the realization of a photo biography of Cuba. His photographic essays cover two fields mainly: 1) Small stories of daily life, focused on the changes that are taking place on the island. 2) Photographic and anthropological studies focused on the racial identity of Cuba.
More information: www.louisalarcon.com