OUR TOYS

The photographic series Our Toys is a series conceived in Cuba that began as a Project paying homage to our childhood. This series reveals the material leftovers from the childhood of the post- 1959 generations. In Cuba, the games also ended up being an important part of the revolution’s rationing politics, and norms were established that regulated their sale and distribution with the objective of reaching all children younger than 16. To that end, the revolution created a system in which all children would have a right to buy toys. Once a year every family received a rationing card with coupons. On each one appeared a letter and a number. Each community was assigned a specific store where corresponding toys could be purchased. There you could find a list of the toys offered at that moment, and the day that corresponded to your family, according to the assigned letters and numbers. The toys were grouped into three categories: basic, not basic or additional. Our parents stood in never-ending lines to get to buy the toys. These faces are witnesses to that era. They were buried in enormous sculptures made by a popular sculptor named Hector Pascual Gallo. For many years, he collected them from the street and turned them into totems that represented an ode to childhood and to all Cuban mothers. My mother wrote,
January 6, 1969 (dawn)

My son has a bicycle today,
Because old folks say today is The Day of Kings.
About the Holy Kings
Since they were holy
And kings
I slept on a hard and cold floor
And in the sky, a big, very big and yellow moon.
Looking at me sleep. . .so that my son could have a red bicycle.

And at dawn, the people counted the people and the bicycles
And the stars…
I counted the stars so as not to count the bicycles

Today my son saw his red bicycle,
He crossed his little hands over his chest
And cried…
And cried.