Present: Past/Future by artist Ed Pien

Participant Santos Cabrera González
Participant Gladys Ester Buada Rodrígue
Participant Walfrido Ibrahím Rodríguez González
Participant Sylvia Leonor Rodríguez Rodríguez
Participant Marcelino Povea Vives
Participant Zonia Ramona Mediaceja Peguero
Participant Rolando Javier Marrero Mejías
Participant Ana Lidia Candevá Lescague
Participant Dionne Clementina Anyo Reyes
Mercedes Zamora Conde
Participant Dagoberto Barroso Rodríguez
Participant Eloína Milián Muñía

Present: Past/Future by artist Ed Pien


Ongoing since 2014 in San Agustín, La Lisa, Cuba.


Project commission, co-production and representation.


Video and installation based social practice project involving regular encounters between the artist and 13 elderly people from San Agustin, a suburb of Havana.


Eva and Ed


The artist: Ed Pien

Ed Pien is a Canadian artist based in Toronto. He has been making art for over early 30 years. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, he immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of eleven. See his website.


The Project:

(From artist project statement)
What then is time? Provided no one asks me, I know, If I want to explain it to an enquirer, I do not know. But I confidently affirm myself to know that if nothing passes away there is no past time, and if nothing arrives there is no future time, and if nothing existed there would be no present time.

Augustine of Hippo, extract from the Confessions (397 - 98 CE); trans. Henry Chadwick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) 230 - 32; 243

Time is more than a philosophical concept and quantifiable construct. No one escapes time. Every one is compelled and impacted by it. Time nurtures, takes it toll; time may help us to forget or console and heal. By sharing durations of time and being self-reflexive of time’s impact, can we make better sense of it, do we feel having more or less control over it?

Since 2014, I have been working with a small group of Elders in St Agustin, Cuba. Together, the Elders and I engage in discussions that explore the notion of time, documented over time. This project is ongoing. Its duration will be determined by death,—either by mine or theirs, or when they lose interest in continuing to work with me.
Ed Pien

Present: Past/Future is an exploration of the perception of time that evolves in its methodology and form as time goes by. The project is a dialogue between the artist and a small group of elderly people who have spent their entire life in Cuba. It formalizes moments shared by the artist and the participants while giving them a voice about their life experiences in the present, from their perception of their past and through their anticipation of the future. Through this journey the project portrays a certain history of Cuba - pre and post revolution – and of contemporary life in Havana suburb of San Agustin.


San Agustin

San Agustín is a 4 km2 neighbourhood in the western periphery of Havana with more than 40,000 inhabitants. Built on large fruit farms (fincas) before the 1950s, it became San Agustín, a residential area for mostly white middle class residents between 1952 and 1954. In the 1960s, San Agustín saw major changes: extended to the nearest neighbourhood, Ermita, it doubled its area and its population dramatically increased.

San Agustín’s architecture is comprised of a mix of a few small neo-colonial farms and Art Nouveau family houses and a mostly 1970s prefabricated low-rise buildings (Soviet Union models). San Agustin and Alamar—on the other side of Havana—are two suburban neighbourhoods that illustrate the massive urban redevelopment undertaken around Havana in the 1970s through the Microbrigadas, a collective form of self-help housing created by the Revolution. San Agustin is now diverse in demography from an ethnic and social point of view: government employees and retirees, independent workers, etc.


San Agustin, Cuba

Home, SanAgustin, Cuba


Project participants:

(Above - right column photographs from top)

  • Evangelina Gálvez Rivas (with Ed Pien seen from behind)
  • San Agustin
  • Ana's house

(From top to bottom - left column portrait gallery)

  • Santos Cabrera González
  • Gladys Ester Buada Rodrígue
  • Walfrido Ibrahím Rodríguez González
  • Sylvia Leonor Rodríguez Rodríguez
  • Marcelino Povea Vives
  • Zonia Ramona Mediaceja Peguero
  • Rolando Javier Marrero Mejías
  • Ana Lidia Candevá Lescague
  • Dionne Clementina Anyo Reyes
  • Mercedes Zamora Conde
  • Dagoberto Barroso Rodríguez
  • Eloína Milián Muñía


Production team in Cuba:

(Photos below from left to right, )

  • Claudio Pelaez Sordo - Videographer and Photographer.
  • Reynier Guerra Capote - Coordinator, Interpreter, Videographer and Photographer
  • Mara Fernanda Delgado Fonseca - Coordinator, Interpreter and Translator
  • Alexis Povea Dreke - Coordinator and Community Liaison


  • Johannes Zits - Advisor, Videographer, Editor and Photographer
  • Mayra Fonseca Zamora - Interpreter
  • Yaritza Barroso Candevá - Interpretor
  • Edimburgo Cabrera - Videographer
  • Carlos Alberto Parra Hernández - Photographer

Production Team



  • Nestor Siré - Coordinator, Translator, Interpreter and Video editor
  • Juan Manuel Pérez - Translator, Interpreter and Video editor
  • Vlad Nunan - Video editor, Colour corrections and Sound editor
  • Jesús Salvador Sanabria (aka Wendy) - Translator, Interpreter and Video editor
  • Laura Rodríguez - Interpreter, Transcriber and Translator
  • Polina Teif - Video editor
  • Enedys Seijo Planes - Transcriber
  • Amanda Lucía Delgado Fonseca - Transcriber and Translator
  • Melissa Fundora - Sound editor
  • Teresa Casas – Translator, Editor and Advisor



  • Omar Estrada (and Translation editor)
  • Omar Alberto Estrada Torres (and Translation editor)
  • Geidi Rosa Marrero
  • Juan Martínez Montano
  • Esperanza Nunez Guerrero y Mario Angel Guerrero (aka Maito)


Specials Thanks to:


  • Wanda Nanibush, Curator, Indigenous Art, Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Georgiana Uhlyarik, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art, Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Renée van der Avoird, Assistant Curator, Indigenous + Canadian Art, Art Gallery of Ontario


For the:

Up-coming Exhibition:

First exhibition of the project at the Jackman Gallery and Jennings Young Gallery, 2nd floor,  Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) Spring, 2022


Up-coming Publications:

An ongoing multifaceted publication will accompany the project along its developments. It will be launched in the spring of 2021 with a limited edition artist book published by Le Centre Sagamie

A second publication will follow including, but not limited to, essays by Dannys Montes de Oca Moreda, Mara Fernanda Delgado Fonseca and an interview of Ed Pien by Catherine Sicot.


Project co-funders and partners:

The project was commissioned in 2014 by Catherine Sicot and benefited from the support and local network of LASA (Laboratorio Artístico de San Agustín) Cuba.

The project is co-produced and funded by Ed Pien with committed, ongoing financial support from Catherine Sicot and Elegoa, including funding in 2017, 2018 and 2019 from the  Canada Council for the Arts, New Chapter Program as part of part Facing: The Stories of others, a series of commissions and exhibitions curated by Catherine Sicot.

The project was included in La Primavera del Amor, Havana, 2015

In 2015, this project received the support of The K.M. Hunter Foundation (Canada)


Photo credits: Ed Pien, Claudio Pelaez Sordo, Johannes Zits, Reynier Guerra Capote and Catherine Sicot.


Logo Elegoa Logo CCA



Logo LASA KM Hunter Charitable Foundation Logo Sagamie