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Nestor Hernandez

1960 - 2006

Havana Vieja, 1998

International Visions is proud to shine the spotlight on Nestor Hernandez (1960-2006), a beloved photographer and Washingtonian who passed away in May 2006. This exhibition will also introduce The Nestor L. Hernandez Jr. Foundation, a non profit organization established by his family to celebrate his legacy and continue his work teaching the art of photography to disadvantaged children in national and international communities. The foundation’s mission is to introduce, expose and inspire children with photography, giving them productive talent in the age of technology and communication. Children were a particular focus for Nestor; he believed that art could not only enlighten, but also increase awareness and aid the well-being of kids here and abroad. Nestor reached out to youths regardless of location – he worked with DC Public School children in Anacostia as well as teenagers in Accra, Ghana – and gave them the opportunity to pick up a camera and see life through a different lens. He also led groups of photographers through Cuba and West Africa to give them exposure to culturally diverse peoples.
Nestor’s projects reveal the true scope of his impact. As an artist of Afro-Cuban descent, he traveled to Cuba over 18 times, working with artists, educators and children while there. The exhibition “Love, Loss and Longing: The Impact of US Travel Policy on Cuban-American Families” (exhibited in Miami, Tampa, DC and New York) grew out of his relationship with Cuba, and “Cuba Reflections: A Photographic Journey” spanned 25 years of travels to the country. As a member of DC’s Photographer’s Collective, he led trips to Cuba and Mali. He led outreach programs in Benin, Ghana, Togo, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal, including UNESCO’s “Accra up Close” project in Ghana. Stateside, he fostered various photodocumentary projects, including: the Shooting Black program, the DC Historic Contemporary Life Documentation Project and, just before his death, an exhibition of student photography at the Martin Luther King, Jr. library from a group of youths he had been mentoring at CentroNia in Columbia Heights and Birney Elementary School in Anacostia. From October 2006 to April 2007, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History presented “Visual Griots of Mali,” an exhibition that arose from Hernandez’s last project, in which he gave Malian children cameras to document their lives and surroundings. The exhibition is currently touring the country.
Nestor Hernandez was the recipient of many accolades and awards during his career, including the Exposure Group’s 2001 Photographer of the Year award, the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist in 2002 and an Artist Fellowship Grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities in 2003. Nestor’s photos are collected and viewed nationally and internationally.






Musicos de Santiago, 1998

Reflecting, 2003

Series Mud Structures, 2003

Shoe Butter, 2005


Arch, 2000

Boy with Tire, 1998

Denu Beach, 1995

Girl Santiago, 1998




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