The Ministry of Artistic Affairs
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cycle enthusiasts Frank Maidens, Scott Ramsay and Anibal Davila explore the vehicle that powers embargo-era Cuba in "Carril Bici", a noteworthy photo exhibition offered by Le Gallery for this year's Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.

In Cuba – where most people don’t have cars and access to manufactured goods is strictly limited – one bicycle can deliver a mattress, transport a family of four or act as a commercial taxi. Streets teem with personalized bikes of all shapes and sizes, customized out of pride or necessity; often fitted with one-of-a-kind, handmade parts.

After catching passing glimpses of the handmade wheels, double-wide bike coaches and pristine vintage cycles that lined the streets of Havana in 2008, exhibit director Frank Maidens knew there was something unique about the way Cubans cherish their bikes. Returning with photographer Scott Ramsay and Bike Sauce co-founder Anibal Davila in 2010, they explored cities, towns and rural areas, exhaustively documenting the ways scarcity had led to elaborate creativity when it comes to bicycle construction and restoration. What they found was a culture where people take pride in the bicycles that propel their lifestyle, as each is different from the last.

Carril Bici’s striking set of images shows both the poverty and resourcefulness of the Cuban people through the way they maintain, use and decorate their bicycles.

"Carril Bici" by Frank Maidens, Scott Ramsay and Anibal Davila
April 27 - May 22, 2011
LE Gallery
1183 Dundas Street West, Toronto