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Urban Tranquility: Photographs by C.W. Griffin

December 1, 2020 - May 1, 2021

In partnership with Iris PhotoCollective, HistoryMiami Museum presents Urban Tranquility: Photographs by C.W. Griffin. The exhibition, featuring the work of C.W. Griffin and curated by Carl Juste, is the exploration of a one-block area of downtown Miami surrounding Government Center, an area that provides both graphic and visual movement and a sense of serenity in the busy urban core.

“Miami is unique as a metropolitan city. Even more unique is its tranquil essence felt at its busy urban core. When you go to cities like New York you feel the hustle and bustle. But you don’t feel that in Miami,” Iris PhotoCollective photographer C.W. Griffin said. “There is a sense of calm in our streets. In our downtown you can be relaxed.”

Griffin started capturing the serenity of downtown two years ago and now a curated selection of images from his photo essay will be displayed on the HistoryMiami plaza, which is also a subject of some of his photographs.

“The HistoryMiami plaza is one of the very few spaces of the people. It is quiet and vast and has a calm to it. You feel safe,” curator Carl Juste said. “For me, that place is the town square. Everyone can claim that space.”

“We are looking forward to sharing this work with the community. We are honored to work with both C.W. Griffin and Carl Juste,” HistoryMiami Museum Executive Director Jorge Zamanillo said.  “Griffin captures the tranquility of downtown through his lens, while Juste curates the exhibition so that everyone sees themselves in it. You will leave the exhibition inspired to capture your own photos of the area.”

C.W. Griffin is a photographer working in Miami. He has taught at the University of Miami for many years and was a staff photographer at the Miami Herald for 31 years. Griffin is the recipient of numerous awards, and while serving in the military was the first African American photographer to be named Military Photographer of the Year for all branches worldwide. His work has appeared in numerous books and magazines such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Time. Griffin was represented in the book and exhibit Contemporary Black Photographers, and his work has appeared in numerous volumes of the coveted ‘Day in The Life’ series. His work has also been a part of many major photography exhibits in galleries such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, and HistoryMiami Museum.

Under the threat of persecution, Haitian-born Carl-Philippe Juste and his politically active family were forced to flee their homeland in 1965, eventually settling in Miami’s Haitian community. Since 1991, he has worked as a photojournalist for The Miami Herald. Juste has covered national and international stories for the Herald, including assignments in Haiti, Cuba, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. As part of his ongoing independent work, in 1998, Juste co-founded Iris PhotoCollective. In 2016, Juste won a prestigious Knight Arts Challenge grant to complete Havana, Haiti: Two Cultures, One Community, a book and exhibit of photographs and essays about Cubans’ and Haitians’ lives and shared humanity. Havana, Haiti opened IPC Art Space in 2019 to further engage the public with the arts, and won the Oolite Arts’ “The Ellies” in 2019.

Urban Tranquility is sponsored by OPG Media | PhatAutoWraps and presented with the Museum’s Center for Photography, which is supported in part by the Funding Arts Network, the Knight Foundation and Susannah and John Shubin.

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