Mariette Pathy Allen

Upcoming Exhibitions

Transgender USA

October 21 – December 22, 2016

Third Friday Durham Reception and Artist’s Talk
October 21, 2016, 5p.m.–8p.m.

Power Plant Building
Suite 100 American Tobacco Campus

320 Blackwell Street Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-660-3622

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The Photo Review Benefit Auction
3rd prize in the Photo Review contest with image from book “TransCuba” - “Performer at the Las Vegas Club, Havana” - to be in upcoming auction.

October 8, 2016

The University of the Arts

Philadelphia, PA

Past Exhibitions:

June 16 – August 14, 2016

Museum of Contemporary Art
North Miami

Joan Lehman Building
770 NE 125th Street
North Miami, Florida 33161

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FotoFest 2016 Biennial
International Fine Print Auction

Image from book “TransCuba” was auctioned “Lady and Laura at the Las Vegas Club, Havana, 2012

March 21, 2016

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Houston Downtown
400 Dallas Street, Houston, TX 77002

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what’s INSIDE HER never dies…a Black Woman’s Legacy
December 1, 2015 - April 3, 2016

Yeelen Gallery
294 NW 54th Street
Miami, Fl 33127


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December 9, 2015 - January 24, 2016

Elizabeth Houston Gallery
190 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002


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2015 Annual Photo Benefit Auction

Baxter St at Camera Club of New York

Image from “TransCuba”- Miguel at a barber shop, Havana

Opening Oct 22, 2015

Affirmation Arts | 523 W 37th St.

Exhibition at YEELEN Gallery:

October 17th - November 28th

The exhibition has been featured in The Huffington Post, and

Yeelen Gallery
294 NW 54th Street
Miami, Fl 33127

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We Heart:

"It’s not just international relations that are relaxing under the leadership of Raúl Castro. While the developing détente between the communist country and the West could have big implications for the lives of all Cubans, the government’s changing attitudes — shaped by the new president — is heralding a new dawn for minority groups who were once confined to the shadows of society.The transgender community of Cuba has, until recently, been a group forced to live life in private. However, Cuba is demonstrating a clear commitment to reform societal attitudes towards LGBT groups. The president’s daughter, Mariela Castro Espín, is a key part of this modernising movement in her role as director of the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education — a government-funded tolerance advocate. Castro Espín provides the preface to TransCuba — a study by American photographer Mariette Pathy Allen which focuses on a transgender group in Havana. Allen has been documenting transgender issues for 30 years, and her experience allowed her to foster close and trusting relationships with the three central subjects of this work; Amanda, Nomi and Malu…"


JUNE 25 - JULY 31, 2015

“All of the subjects in TransCuba are old enough to have experienced the political oppression not just of trans life but also of homosexuality. Allen visits them at a time when they have newfound freedom, after a shift has occurred not only in governmental policy but also in the culture around them, toward acceptance and understanding.” — Allen Frame, photographer, curator, activist, writer-director

Rayko Photo Center
428 Third St.
SF, CA 94107

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The Bay Area Reporter:

"TransCuba is the latest body of work from Mariette Pathy Allen, whose stated goal is "the de-freakification of gender variant people," having photographed and advocated for the transgender community for 35 years. Her exhibition of glossy, technically assured color photographs, which is accompanied by a handsome monograph that includes the personal stories of some of her subjects, arrives at a pivotal juncture when relations between Cuba and the U.S. are thawing, and there's potential for increased acceptance of gays and newfound freedom for transgender people…"


"Intimate photos of trans women in Cuba By Ryan Kost Updated 5:25 pm, Wednesday, July 1, 2015 In some ways, to take photographs is to study moments; it is to be preoccupied with glances, with lighting, with things that transpire in a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of a second. It seems right, then, to consider how two moments shaped the career of photographer Mariette Pathy Allen…"

San Francisco Chronicle:

"Photographer widens view on gender in island nation. In some ways, to take photographs is to study moments; it is to be preoccipied with glances, with lighting, with things that transpire in a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of a second…"

It's Nice That:

"Mariette Pathy Allen’s photographs are striking because they’re unlike any series about the transgender community I’ve seen before. Rather than focusing on the the theatrics and glamour often presented to us, Mariette wanted to capture the everyday life of a community who were choosing to live in the gender that felt most comfortable to them. Mariette’s photographed the transgendered community for 30 years now but that first photograph was completely by luck. “In 1978 I was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I stayed in the same hotel as a group of cross-dressers who invited me to join them for breakfast on the last morning,” Mariette explains. “When I took a group picture, I was moved by looking into the eyes of one of the people in the group. I felt as though I was looking at the essence of a human being, rather than a man or woman.”

New York Times - Women in the World:

"During a recent trip to Cuba, Mariette Pathy Allen spent a day at the beach with her friends Amanda and Malu, both of whom are transgender women. On their way back home, the group was detained at a checkpoint. When police discovered that Allen’s companions had records for prostitution, they hauled the group into the station…"


“I never want to see another picture of ________.” Industry veterans share their pet peeves on themes in contemporary photography. In this series they present their “rule” along with five photographs that break the rule in an effort to show that great work is the exception to the rule.

Rule Setter: Ann M. Jastrab, Gallery Director, Rayko Photo Center

Rule Breaker: Mariette Pathy Allen

"I never want to see another picture made in Cuba. Now it’s true, photographs of vibrantly dressed people walking by vintage automobiles and old city walls with peeling paint and crumbling architecture are seductive. Especially when they are taken in the gorgeous light near the Tropic of Cancer, the earth tilting towards the sun like a gift each spring breaking my heart with its warmth. My time in the West Indies haunting me anew each time I see pictures made in that light. Well, it used to be each time. Even after viewing 20 or 30 portfolios of these pictures, they are still seductive. There is something about this place, frozen in time, which is magical and alluring. But at some point (maybe it’s around the 50th portfolio), you realize that not everyone can be Alex Webb…"

Over the Rainbow Books:

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

2015 Over the Rainbow List: 78 LGBT Books for Adult Readers

"The 2015 Over the Rainbow Project book list, sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association (ALA), has been decided at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Chicago. This year’s list includes 78 titles published between July 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014"

TransCuba by Mariette Pathy Allen has been included in this list.

NPR: Latino USA:

"After his victory in 1959, Fidel Castro promised the Cuban Revolution would be for the working class, the poor and the humblest Cubans… as long as they were straight. Cuban officials saw homosexuality as a sign of counterrevolutionary, bourgeois decadence. The new regime sent homosexuals, political dissenters and religious minorities to labor camps known as UMAPs, and kept in place public decency laws that prohibited any form of transgender or gender-nonconforming behavior. Homosexual Cubans like poet Reinaldo Arenas were among the thousands of Cubans who went into exile on the Mariel Boatlift in 1980…"

Listen to the full interview here.

TransCuba on Photo-Eye

Publisher's Description
"For more than 30 years, New York–based photographer and painter Mariette Pathy Allen has been documenting transgender…""

The Daily Beast's Best Coffee Table Books of 2014

"Photographer and painter Mariette Pathy Allen has been documenting transgender culture worldwide for more than 30 years and lately she has been able to turn her eyes on Cuba. Apparently Cuba’s transgender community has gained enough acceptance under the current regime to make it possible for Allen to collect the images for this seductive anthology. The book also includes interviews and a note from director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education in Havana, Mariela Castro (who happens to be Cuban President Raúl Castro’s daughter), who was instrumental in the 2008 passage of the law allowing transgender individuals to receive sex reassignment surgery and change their legal gender…"

Lens Culture

"I can envision a future time when mainstream society will be so free of judgment and prejudice that gender-variant people will be appreciated as teachers who show the rest of us how to liberate ourselves from the rigidity of gender roles and find alternative ways of integrating mind and body…"

Older Online Exhibitions: