Raúl Cañibano Ercilla was born in 1961 in Havana, the capital of Cuba.
He is an award-winning photographer whose work focuses on his native Cuba. In his youth, Raúl spent several years living in the rural provinces of Las Tunas and Cienfuegos, before moving to Havana and spent his early career working as a welding technician in civil aviation.
In 1990, Cañibano visited his childhood home of Cienfuegos on vacation, where he met photographer Alfredo Sarabia. He was inspired to enter the world of photography and taught himself how to experiment with the medium, eventually finding work at national magazines.
Self-taught, Cañibano was influenced by a wide range of artists and photographers. Attracted to the work of photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Sebastián Salgado, and the paintings of Salvador Dalí, he formed his own surrealistic style. When the so-called “Special Period” began in Cuba, photographic materials necessary for his work became scarce.
His work explores a broad range of themes, including the city, the countryside, faith, and old age. His ongoing two-decades’ long anthropological series “Tierra Guajira” (Country Land) won Cuba’s photography prize in 1998. It pays homage to Cuban peasants and recalls his own experiences of having spent part of his childhood in the rural eastern regions of the island.
Raúl's photographs have been published widely New York Times, Leica Fotografie International and Black & White Magazine. His work has been exhibited worldwide, including Fototeca de Cuba, Casa de las Americas in Madrid, the Royal National Theater in London, the Arles Festival in France, the Nordic Light International Festival of Photography in Norway and the Frankston Arts Centre in Australia, plus New York’s Robert Mann and Throckmorton Fine Art galleries.
Cañibano’s photographs are included in the publication CUBA: 100 years of Cuban Photography, as well as numerous international magazines. He continues to give workshops both in Cuba and abroad, including Spain, Mexico, France and Belgium.
Raúl is also a documentary photographer for the newspaper Juventud Rebelde in Cuba and CNN Digital in the United States. He is a member of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), where his work is part of the Cuban Image Fund and included in important international private collections, including the International Center of Photography (ICP) and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Since 1994 – member of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC).
Since 2000 – member of the Cuban Fund of Photographic Images.
Since 2022 – member of the Noga Creative Union (NCU).
Awards and Honors:
1999 – Grand Prize, I National Salon of Photography, Tierra guajira series.
1997 – First Prize, University of Havana Plastic Arts Competition, March 13.
1995 – Mention at the First Biennial of Contemporary Photography La Llave del Cerro.
1995 – Mention in the III International Abelardo Rodríguez Photography Exhibition before the Cuban Photographic Image Foundation.
2021 – Absolut Cuba, Festival La Gacilly-Baden Photo, Baden, Austria.
2020 – Esencia, Revelan't Documentary Photography Festival, Barcelona, Spain.
2019 – Chronicles of an Island, The Photographer Gallery room sale, Londres, UK.
2018 – Visa pour l'Image: International Festival of Photojournalism, Perpignan, France.
2018 – Retrospectiva, Rabat Street Art Festival, Rabat, Morocco.
2017 – Esencia, Art Center Tomás y Valiente, Madrid, Spain.
2017 – Central Dupon Images, Paris, France.
2015 – The Storyteller, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, USA.
2014 – Retrospectiva: 20 años, Nîmes, France.
2013 – The Island Re-portrayed. 1992-2012. A retrospective vision, Aluna Art Foundation, Miami, USA.
2013 – Retrospectiva, Festival de Fotografía Reportage, Customer House, Sydney, Australia.
2009 – En la Ruta, Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba.
2008 – Tierra Guajira, Centro Cultural de Artes de Alcorcón, Madrid, Spain.
1993 – La realidad expectante, Facultad de Artes Plásticas de la Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Mexico.
1993 – Cazador Solitario, Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba.
2022 – Extra Ordinary, The photographer Gallery, London, United Kingdom.
2022 – Como la Caña, Galería Factoría Diseño, Havana, Cuba.
2021 – De lo intencional a lo inesperado, Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba.
2019 – Un viaje de ida y vuelta, Luciano Mendez private collection, DA2 Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca, Spain.
2019 – Isla de Azúcar, XIII Havana Biennial, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba.
2018 – La imagen Sin Límite, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba.
2017 – Art x Cuba. Contemporary Perspectives since 1989, Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen, Germany.
2017 – Cuba is, The Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, USA.
2017 – Cuba, Cuba, 65 años de fotografía Cubana, International Center of Photography (ICP), New York, USA.
2016 – Under the Cuban Sun, Throckmorton Fine Art, New York, USA.
2015 – The light in Cuban eyes, Robert Mann Gallery, New York, USA.
2014 – Arte Cubano, Frankstone Arts Center, Melbourne, Australia.
2013 – Festival de Fotografía Nordic Ligth, Kristiansund, Norway.
2012 – El agua, lo masculino y lo femenino, Museo de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba.
2010 – Cuba: por dentro y por fuera, Krause Center for Innovation (KCI), Los Altos Hills, USA.
2009 – 17 milagroso, Babalú-Aye, Casa de América, Madrid , Spain.
2005 – Exposición Cubana de Fotografía, Rencontres d'Arles, Arles, France.
2002 – A través de los ojos de otro, City Hall Phoenix, Phoenix, USA.
2002 – Cuba Dura pero Dura, Fototeca de Veracruz, Veracruz City, Mexico.
2001 – Contemporary Photography from Cuba, The Center Gallery Miami Dade Community College Wolfson Campus, USA.
2000 – 50 Años de Fotografía Cubana, Royal National Theatre, London, England.
1998 – Cien Años de Fotografía Cubana, Casa de América, Madrid , Spain.
1998 – Cien años de emigración japonesa, Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba.
1997 – 3 Fotógrafos Cubanos, La Venerie, Brussels, Belgium/ Shadai-Gellery, Tokyo, Japan.
1997 – Contemporary Images from Cuba Absolut, Los Angeles Internacional Gallery, Los Angeles, USA.
1995 – Primer Salón de Arte Contemporáneo, Museo de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba.
1994 – 33 Cuban Photographers, Rerson Gellery, Toronto, Canada.
2021 – Absolut Cuba, Edition Lammerhuber, esp./eng./deu., ISBN 978-3-903101-80-7, Baden, Austria.