“Time is the saddest of all destructions. Imagine the idea of time stopping, how to describe it? I always remember how the factory whistle marked the passing of the hours. Since the factory was dismantled, time has stopped“.
Interview with a Cuban Azucarero.
Pierre-Elie de Pibrac lived for almost a year in immersion with various families of the community of Azucareros of Cuba, workers in the sugar industry and early revolutionaries. Through this experience, the photographer questions the end of utopias among a people who believed and worked for the embodiment of the Castrist dream. Desmemoria is a testimony about the daily life of the inhabitants of the “bateyes” (villages) made from sugar and living for sugar. At the heart of these villages are sugar plants still in operation or disused and sugar workers bearing witness to the lives they sacrificed. Whether ghostly or inhabited, the bateyes are theaters of the disenchantment of Cuban society. There is a heavy atmosphere that underscores the loneliness, poverty, isolation and precariousness from which the vast majority of Cuban sugar workers suffer. If sugar cane built Cuba and represented the national pride and the Cuban’s desire for independence, today it is the symbol of its wreck, bringing with it a new generation without landmarks. In 2018, a year and a half after Fidel Castro’s death, his brother, Raúl Castro, will resign as president, ending the Castro dynasty that has ruled the country since 1959. This is a page of Cuban history that is about to be turned. The series Desmemoria immortalizes these emblematic jobs of the island, condemned to disappear.