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Visions of Cuba, an exhibition at Raleigh's Gamil Gallery opening from 7:30-10:30 p.m. during First Friday, consists of 50 framed prints and over 200 projected images of our island neighbor, and two original paintings from Cuban artists. One of these paintings is by Benji Shelton, who visited Cuba in 1995 before the Helms-Burton Act became law. The photographs are by Copenhagen resident Johannes Von der Van der Weiner (sic), who developed an interest in Cuba during a stay in the United States in 1980. The Mariel boatlift that summer brought 124,000 refugees to our shores and highlighted the dire effects the American economic embargo was having on the Cuban people. "When I asked Americans about the Cuban refugees no one could tell me anything about why they were coming," Johannes says. "'They are communists' is all I could get." But January 2002 brought him the opportunity to travel to Cuba, and there he experienced "a land full of colorfully proud and friendly people." The photographs of the children (pictured above) are his favorites since they represent "the future of a place stuck between two massive adolescent ideologies. Instead of leading the way toward maturity they quarrel egotistically over a moot point, creating a new generation of suspicion instead of trust, a potential future of conflict instead of cooperation." See this eclectic show at Gamil Gallery through the end of April. Call 834-3552 or visit for details.

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