Valdir Cruz: Guarapuava

We are proud to share this blog post written by Susan Bishopric about En Foco alumni, Valdir Cruz‘s upcoming exhibition and book GUARAPUAVA at Throckmorton Fine Art. Cruz has been part of the En Foco familia for many years. His work is part of our Permanent Collection which is accompanied with a book and traveling exhibition, titled En Foco/In Focus: Selected Works from the Permanent Collection. Cruz’s is also part of our Print Collectors Program that is available for purchase. He has also been featured twice in Nueva Luz (vol. 6 #2 and vol. 12 #3).  

Valdir Cruz, Paisagem com arvores e lago, 2002,  Pigment on paper, 30 x 38 inches.
© Valdir Cruz, Paisagem com arvores e lago, 2002, Pigment on paper, 30 x 38 inches.

Valdir Cruz is a Brazilian photographer, born in 1954 in Guarapuava, the Southern State of Paraná, Brazil.  While Cruz has lived in the United States for more than thirty years, his photography has largely focused on the people, architecture and landscape of his native Brazil and the rainforests of Latin America. In 1996, Cruz was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Faces of the Rainforest, a project documenting the life of indigenous people in the Brazilian Rainforest. The Guggenheim Foundation further supported this project with a publication subvention award.

What distinguishes Valdir Cruz’s photography, is the docu-essay form of his projects which expertly tap his interest in anthropology and culture.  He has lived among the native cultures not just in Guarapuava but in many Latin American locations and through exposure to different peoples and places developed a strong documentarian eye easily discerned from the Guarapuava works on display Sept 18 – November 1 at Throckmorton Fine Art in New York.

© Valdir Cruz, Pinus Araucaria, 1992, Selenium Tones Gelatin Silver Print, 11 x 14 inches.

In his introduction to the GUARAPUAVA book that accompanies the Throckmorton exhibition, photography researcher and curator, Rubens Fernandes, Jr., says “For over thirty years, Valdir Cruz has produced regular records of Guarapuava. His images are not commonplace; many people consider that documentation of a town means looking at the urban space and photographing it through its public road and imposing buildings, but here, contrary to what one might think, it is seen as a space where different ethnicities that make up Brazil coexist – Europeans, native peoples, and Africans – whose boundaries are surrounded by exuberant waterfalls and breathtaking landscapes.  This rare initiative distinguishes this essay’s uniqueness, with an unconventional exercise in constructing memories.  Instead of a cartographic reading of streets and buildings, he chose to portray local people, local events such as cattle divers’ dislocations, and landscapes that still pulse in the imaginary created by his childhood memories.  This is a keen record of a local dweller in his own land.

“The characters portrayed are anonymous heroes who, together with landscapes and waterfalls, celebrate this visual references.  Actually, it is an inventory of emotions far removed from the power setting represented by the urban space and its buildings, similar to a family album gathering a kind of inventive story articulated through desire-rich and imaginative narrative.  Valdir Cruz is able to transform commonplace occurrences into extraordinary things by circumscribing photography as a power of personal, social, and cultural values, far from the current visual easiness.  At the Guarapuava show, this manifest desire to excel is remarkable, since, as well as synthesizing his life experience, he also extends the visibility of people and landscapes marginal to the system.”

Valdir Cruz, Tropeiro Chico, 1990, Pigment on paper, 30 x 30 inches
© Valdir Cruz, Tropeiro Chico, 1990, Pigment on paper, 30 x 30 inches.

“Guarapuava” is Throckmorton Fine Art’s sixth solo exhibition of works by the documentary-photographer, Valdir Cruz, and one that is the culmination of a thirty-year project.

Spencer Throckmorton says, “Cruz’s exquisite photographic essay on ‘Guarapuava,’ the photographer’s hometown, bears out Tolstoy’s observation that to be universal one only needs to talk about his own village. With unremitting devotion, Cruz has chronicled the lives and lifestyles of this ephemeral and evocative place. The images are the result of his close investigation of its people and landscapes.”

© Valdir Cruz, Hands, 2003, Pigment on paper, 30 x 30 inches

Among highlights – “Guarapuava” showcases a photograph entitled, “Hands” which beautifully represents the absolute wide range of black and gray tones—from delicate charcoal shades to pitch darkness—resulting in a striking composition. It is also a visual and cultural commentary of a solitary gesture that models human complexity.

For more information on the artist, please click here.


Exhibition Information:

Dates: September 18th – November 1st, 2014

Location:  Throckmorton Fine Art 
145 East 57th Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 223-1059

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11 am to 5 pm


More About Valdir Cruz:
Cruz was mentored and studied with some of the photographic world’s greatest practitioners.  First at the Germain School, and then when he received aesthetic and technical know-how working with George Tice at New York’s New School for Social Research. His talent has won him over fifty solo exhibitions since the early 80s at venues including the National Arts Club in New York, the Houston Center for Photography and FotoFest International.  His work has been acquired by private collectors as well as museums in the United States and Brazil including The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the New York Public Library, The Smithsonian Institution and the Brooklyn Museum as well as the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo.


The 2013 Art & Cocktails Benefit Highlights

We are still aglow from the success of En Foco’s Art & Cocktails Benefit and Silent Auction on November 12, 2013. The chilly evening warmed up at Dejavu Boutique in Midtown Manhattan, with an incredible turn out raising over $9,500 dollars in support of En Foco’s programs!

We wouldn’t have been able to do so without all of you, so here’s a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who came out, had fun, and supported us for this wonderful event – and a special thanks to photographer Ray Llanos for the great photos we are sharing with you now.

Here are some fun highlights from the night

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Miriam Romais introducing En Foco’s Founder, Charles Biasiny-Rivera, to En Foco’s Chairwoman, Susan Karabin

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Anne Eddy and Executive Director Miriam Romais laugh over a friendly bidding war

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Introductions and new friendships being made
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Miriam Romais and En Foco’s Program Director Dani Cattan

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Yijun Pixy Liao (right) and her partner, Moro
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Muema and Lorie Caval

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En Foco’s Program Associate, Dee Campos and Permanent Collection artist, Groana Melendez
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Permanent Collection artist, Gerald Cyrus with Ray Llanos (selfie!)

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Olga Omelchenko (Nueva Luz Design & Production) with Lou Gomez

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Jaime Permuth and Alejandra Regalado (Go see her En Foco exhibition! It’s at Pregones Theatre through February 7, 2014)
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Anthony Meyers from BCA with Lola Flash, discussing her print, DJ Kinky

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Lou Mercurio, Bruce Miller and Frank Gimpaya
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Anthony Meyers with Center for Book Arts Director and Curator Alex Campos
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Board Member Bill Aguado (left) and Kathi Pavelick, with En Foco Permanent Collection artist, Wendel A. White

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Sid Baumgarten and Terry Paladini-Baumgarten
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Susan Karabin (right) with son, Andrew Emerson and friend

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Miriam Romais, Nancy Dubetz and Marcelo Maciel
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Permanent Collection Artist Ana de Orbegoso (left) with fashion designer Elisa Jimenez
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Gerald Cyrus, Delilah Montoya, and Frank Gimpaya
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Our Permanent Collection book, En Foco/In Focus: Selected works from the Permanent Collection.     On sale at
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Gerald Cyrus signing Delilah Montoya’s copy of the Permanent Collection book

En Foco’s staff, artists, board and founder/founding members:

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L-R: En Foco Permanent Collection artist and Founding Member, George Malave, En Foco Founder, Charles Biasiny-Rivera, and Board member and Nueva Luz creator, Frank Gimpaya
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Miriam Romais and Charles Biasiny-Rivera
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Some En Foco Ladies! L-R: Program Director, Dani Cattan; Nueva Luz Designer, Olga Omelchenko; Executive Director, Miriam Romais; Volunteer, Lisette Poole; Program Associate, Dee Campos; Board Treasurer, Miraida Morales
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Dee Campos, Miriam Romais, and Dani Cattan
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Bottom Left going clockwise: Miriam Romais, Ana de Orbegoso, George Malave, Charles Biasiny-Rivera, Gerald Cyrus, Elizabeth Ferrer, Wendel White, Frank Gimpaya, Amelia Biasiny-Rivera, Bill Aguado, Dani Cattan, Delilah Montoya, and Groana Melendez

The donations and support we received are a testament to our strong and steadily growing community at En Foco. With every dollar received, we are able to continue to promote cultural diversity in the field of photography, cover the cost of exhibitions, publish Nueva Luz, provide our artists with monetary compensation for their work, and provide free workshops for our community. So again, THANK YOU for your dedication and investment in En Foco!

The Art and Cocktails Benefit was truly a success and it wouldn’t have been possible without you, our dedicated community members. 2014 marks our 40th Anniversary as an organization, and we cannot wait to celebrate it with all of you!

All Photos Courtesy of © Ray Llanos

Art & Cocktails Benefit: Nov 12, 2013

Jesus Chain in Raleigh, North Carolina, From Small Town Hip Hop series, 2011. ©Jared Soares
Jesus Chain in Raleigh, North Carolina, From Small Town Hip Hop series, 2011. © Jared Soares [Recipient of En Foco’s New Works Photography Fellowship Awards 2012-2013]
En Foco’s Art & Cocktails Benefit is coming up on Tuesday, November 12, from 6-9pm at Dejavu Boutique in Midtown, NYC. This year’s honorees, are the incredible talents that are part of our Permanent Collection’s traveling exhibition curated by Elizabeth Ferrer:

Adál • Jaishri Abichandani • Max Aguilera Hellweg • Sama Alshaibi • Don Gregorio Antón • Chuy Benitez • Louis Carlos Bernal • Dawoud Bey • Charles Biasiny-Rivera • Terry Boddie • Samantha Box • Roger Cabán • Valdir Cruz •
Gerald Cyrus • Phil Dante • Ana de Orbegoso • Luis Delgado • Dean Dempsey • Lola Flash • Ricky Flores • Myra Greene • Muriel Hasbun • Germán Herrera • Kenro Izu • Nitza Luna • George Malave • Frank X. Méndez • Héctor Méndez Caratini • Stephen Marc • Rania Matar • Annu Palakunnathu Matthew • Larry McNeil • Groana Melendez • Tony Mendoza • Néstor Millán • Delilah Montoya • Pipo Nguyen-duy •Dulce Pinzón • Bonnie Portelance • Sophie Rivera • Juan Sánchez • Kunié Sugiura • Jane Tam • Hank Willis Thomas • Hong-An Truong • Kathy Vargas • Víctor Vázquez • Wendel White.

Many of the Collection’s artists will be in attendance, such as Charles Biasiny-Rivera, Delilah Montoya, Ricky Flores, Wendel White, George Malave, and many more. We hope you will come to help honor them!

We are also pleased to celebrate the launch of the exhibition’s book, En Foco/In Focus: Selected Works from the Permanent Collection, by offering a special pre-signed edition – available for the first time at the Benefit. Unsigned copies will be available online, at soon.

This fundraiser will raise money to support critical programs to benefit artists and our communities. Since we are a non-for-profit, your contribution goes directly towards offering exhibitions, producing Nueva Luz photographic journal, providing our artists with financial compensation for their work, and free workshops that help serve our community. The artists we exhibit in our Touring Gallery program are given a valuable opportunity to display their work in community spaces. This allows us to be a bridge between artistically underserved communities and talented artists from diverse cultures.

Some of our generous friends and fellow En Foco artists have donated their prints to be featured in our Silent Auction: Lola FlashFrank GimpayaGroana MelendezGeorge MalaveMiriam Romais, Jared Soares, Alex Morel, Pete Pin, Yijun Pixy Liao, Sonia Louise Davis. Other Items include: consultations with M.V. Swanson with her Publish Your Photography book ($300 value each); Dulce Pinzon’s signed “Superheros” book ($25 value); La Palapa Cocina Mexicana‘s famous brunch for four ($100 value); Gift Certificate to Zuppa & Guapo restaurants in Yonkers, General Art Framing ($100 value), Sueños Restaurant, and more!

Get your tickets today!

Or, if you’re unable to attend, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us reach our goal.  Your contribution to our Art & Cocktails Benefit is a great way to help us promote cultural diversity and social justice through photography. So come join us and help us help others.

Preview the Silent Auction Prints:

YONE, From Worldwide Underground: Global Hip-Hop series,  2000. © Noelle Theard
YONE, From Worldwide Underground: Global Hip-Hop series, 2000. © Noelle Théard  [published in Nueva Luz photographic journal, volume 16#3]
Lyric Book in Roanoke, Virgina, From Small Town Hip Hop series, 2008. ©Jared Soares [recipient of En Foco's New Works Photography Fellowship Awards 2012-13]
Lyric Book in Roanoke, Virgina, From Small Town Hip Hop series, 2008. © Jared Soares [recipient of En Foco’s New Works Photography Fellowship Awards 2012-13]
Nicole, DR, From Relaciones y Relatos/Relations and Tales series, 2005. ©Alex Morel
Nicole, DR, from Relaciones y Relatos/Relations and Tales series, 2005. © Alex Morel                      [postcard invitation cover image for En Foco’s Touring Gallery Exhibition of his work, 2012]
The Builder #12, From The Builder series, 2013. ©Rodrigo Valenzuela
The Builder #12, from The Builder series, 2013. © Rodrigo Valenzuela  [recipient of the New Works Photography Awards 2012-13]
World Trade Center 911 -WAR, from the WTC-Before, During and After 911 series, 2001. © George Malave
World Trade Center 911 -WAR, from the WTC-Before, During and After 911 series, 2001. © George Malave [one of the founding members of En Foco, exhibited as part of En Foco’s Touring Gallery Exhibitions programs, 2006]
Untitled #22, From tracing(s) belonging(s) series,  2011. ©Sonia Louise Davis
Untitled #22, from tracing(s) belonging(s) series, 2011. © Sonia Louise Davis [exhibited as part of En Foco’s Touring Gallery Exhibitions program, 2012]
Laura Daydreaming, Santo Domingo, R.D,  From Ni Agui, Ni Alla series, 2006. ©Groana Melendez
Laura Daydreaming, Santo Domingo, R.D., from Ni Aqui, Ni Alla series, 2006. © Groana Melendez  [in En Foco’s Permanent Collection, published in Nueva Luz volume 14#3, and exhibited as part of En Foco’s Touring Gallery Exhibitions program, 2010]

Doña Marta, Ni Aqui Ni Alla series, 2008. © Groana G. Melendez
Doña Marta, Ni Aqui Ni Alla series, 2008. © Groana G. Melendez

Untitled, From the Cambodian Diaspora series, 2011. ©Pete Pin
Untitled, from the Cambodian Diaspora series, 2011. © Pete Pin  [postcard invitation image for En Foco’s Touring Gallery exhibition of his work in 2013]
Play Station, From Experimental Relationships series, 2013. © Yijun Pixy Liao
Play Station, from Experimental Relationships series, 2013.  © Yijun Pixy Liao  [one of two postcard invitation cover images for New Works Photography Fellowship Awards 2012-13]
Rejoice ( Mural by Shrine), from PAINTED VOICES: Photographs of Mission Murals series, 2011. © Miriam Romais
Rejoice (Mural by Shrine), from PAINTED VOICES: Photographs of Mission Murals series, 2011. © Miriam Romais [ Executive Director of En Foco; published in Nueva Luz, Commemorative Issue, volume 7:2]
Lola Flash, Kinky D, 2003.
kinky d, from [sur]passing series, 2003. © Lola Flash  [published in Nueva Luz volume 11#1, in En Foco’s Permanent Collection and Nueva Luz Photographs: 1985-2011]
 Front of the House, From Midwest Filipino series, 2012. ©Daniel Ballesteros
Front of the House, from Midwest Filipino series, 2012. © Daniel Ballesteros  [recipient of the New Works Photography Awards Fellowship 2012-13]
Homage to Kertesz, 2012. © Frank Gimpaya
Homage to Kertesz, 2012. © Frank Gimpaya [member of En Foco’s Board of Directors; in Nueva Luz Photographs: 1985-2012; and Nueva Luz volume 1#3]

Ingres, from the Museum series, 2011. © Frank Gimpaya
Ingres, from the Museum series, 2011. © Frank Gimpaya
© Steve Cagan, Steel Mill, Cleveland's Flats, Industrial Hostages series, 1979
Steel Mill, Cleveland’s Flats, Industrial Hostages series, 1979. © Steve Cagan [Guest writer for Nueva Luz volume 15#3]

About our Hosts:

Founded in 2003, Dejavu “The House of Yang” began as a Boutique offering rare and unique pieces from elite dressmakers such as Cop Copine, Vivienne Westwood and some others designers from around the world. Curated with the modern woman in mind, its four stores today give access to the latest fashion news and forecasts for swift cultivation in the form of hand picked styles. 

Dejavu’s Upper East Side location was once an art gallery, owned by Andy Warhol during 1950’s to 1960’s. The second floor is now Dejavu’s showcase for new artists and painters mixing Fashion and Art bringing the best of your style.

Created by retail connoisseur Kai Yang, his vision for Dejavu aside from catering to clients with fashion’s latest trends,  is contributing to a woman’s eternal style. “Fashion isn’t only about trends or brands , it’s about developing your personal style and wearing what’s right for you.”