Sean Alexander Geraghty is a London-based photographer. Born in 1987 to an English father and Italian mother, Sean grew up in Nice, France. After working one year at Oliviero Toscani’s ad agency in Italy, he moved to London where he assisted photographers Miles Aldridge and Sean & Seng. He then went full-time with photographer Boo George for five years and eventually decided to move on to focus on his own photography. He is now working on his first book, Barrio Chino, Habana.
Barrio Chino, Habana
“Barrio Chino, Habana” is an ongoing project that aims to document the remaining fragments of the once glorious Chinatown in Habana, Cuba. In its prime, during the ’50s, it was the largest Chinatown in Latin America. This community has a long history, dating back to the 19th century when thousands of Chinese were brought to Cuba as substitutes for African slaves. A second wave of immigration in the 20th century saw the arrival of free men in search of a better life.
In both waves, immigration to Cuba was predominantly male. This facilitated the mix of Chinese people with Cubans of all heritages, creating a unique multi-layered identity. After the 1959 Revolution in Cuba, the growth of the community stopped abruptly. Many Chinese fled the country once the Communist Government took power.
Today there are approximately 150 Chinese born in Chinatown left on the island. Although the aging community is slowly disappearing, its few remaining residents and descendants are fighting every day to keep it alive. Most of them have never been to China. This opens many questions on the meaning of national identity and its relation to citizenship.
To view more of Sean Alexander Geraghty’s work please visit his website.