The last Friday of each month in Miami means its Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays) on 8th Street/Calle Ocho in Little Havana. It’s a time when visitors flock to the area to explore the unique art galleries, restaurants and business that make up the historic street in one of the most well known enclaves in the city.
This particular Friday marks the opening of a temporary installation by local Miami architecture firm NC-Office. If the name sounds familiar its probably because of their award winning, and extensive work done throughout Miami and abroad. They’ve also participated in several DawnTown competitions, winning honorable mention in the 2010 Seaplane Terminal competition and were a finalist in the initial Design/Build Competition.
The installation is a memorial for the Cuban balseros lost at sea. The dictatorship in Cuba uprooted many people, forcing them to leave their homes for a life of exile. Some were fortunate enough that they were able to be claimed by family or received asylum in other countries. However, there have been many who didn’t have these options and instead took to the high seas hoping for a chance at freedom. Using makeshift “boats” sometimes made from rubber tires, Styrofoam, or even cars, the “balseros” (balsa meaning raft) braved the rough waters between Miami and Cuba hoping for a better life. Not all that take the journey are fortunate, with countless of refugees losing their lives. Please join NC-Office this Friday in remembering those who risked everything for a chance at freedom.
All images below are courtesy of NC-Office