Photographer Olly Burn’s most recent subject, the Parque Deportivo José Martí in Havana, Cuba, is a beautifully dilapidated symbol of the hope and disappointment which accompanies political change in the country.
Initially constructed in 1940, the stadium was seen as a manifestation of the optimism of the moment in which it was built but from the 1970s onwards, Parque Deportivo José Martí went largely forgotten, becoming gradually more and more derelict, and today, with Cuba teetering on the brink of the most extensive social reform since the 1950s, the park is eerily excluded from guidebooks and maps, yet continues to exist as an overlooked monument to the hopes of 70 years ago.
Olly’s photographs beautifully depict the enduring and forgotten nature of the sports-ground. Bathed in dying light and dusty pastel shades, he paints a portrait of the space as both a memorial and witness to what has gone before, with paint flaking and concrete crumbling to reveal Havana’s past. In spite of the security fences and the graffiti littered across the walls, Burn shows how the structure continues to endure the political progression which surrounds it.
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