BDC Spotlight: Paola Martínez Fiterre

BDC Spotlight: Paola Martínez Fiterre

 

Paola Martínez Fiterre is a Cuban visual multimedia artist who emigrated to the United States in 2017 and currently lives in West Harlem. Paola is the BDC Labs Coordinator. In this month’s BDC Spotlight Series we spoke with Paola about how she shares her passion for analog photography and darkroom printing with our community:

Q: Can you tell us about one of your favorite experiences at the BDC?

My favorite experience at BDC is always printing time. Whenever I have someone working in the darkroom and they come out to check their prints in the light, it's very interesting how it all starts from a small test print and ends with a beautiful final print. I get to see the whole process, which is very rewarding, because there is always something new to learn. From a student who is learning to someone who has been printing their whole life, there is always something new to learn by seeing the process that starts the moment you start selecting your negative.

Q:  What is a project you’re working on now?

I’m working on a project very close to my heart–a project of images taken in my native country, Cuba, in the houses where I grew up, that I get to visit when I go back to see my family. It’s a very interesting project for me;  what motivated me to start taking these photographs is the feeling of being a migrant woman in my country, and going back to all these memories that these spaces and corners trigger in me. It's called "How to visit home?" The main feeling I have is that I am visiting the places I still consider home so the project asks the question “is it still home if you are the visitor?” With this project, I hope to portray a small part of what emigrating has meant to me, and I hope that it becomes part of the work of a larger community of immigrant artists who have been exploring these experiences.

Q: How has working at the BDC impacted you or your own work?

Working at the BDC has created a feeling of safety for me, because it has given me a community that I can rely on. Getting to work with people and students and seeing how everyone collaborates with each other is the best feeling and motivates me to create more work and connect with everyone.

Q:  What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter your field?

I have always believed that we all have something relevant to say, I have also always believed that art has the power to communicate between cultures and communities. So my advice is that whenever a person needs to hear and see what you have to say, even if it's just one person waiting for you to say it, do it! We have a great power to communicate through emotions and principles. There is always someone out there who feels the same way and needs to see your work. Be constant and consistent with your creative process, and do it!

Q: Who/what inspires you?

I am always inspired by women artists like the Cubans Loló Soldevilla and Marta María Perez who I always keep close to my heart. I am also very inspired by the history of family, friends and students–hearing them talk about their stories is something that really inspires me a lot, because in many cases they have a path similar to mine.

Follow Paola here