Monday, November 22, 2004

The three photographs I’ve posted below represent the work of Martin Chambi. Chambi an Amerindian was born in Peru in 1891.In a career that spanned half a century Chambi documented his people, the indigenous Quechua-speakers of the former Inca empire and the mestizo people of his adopted city Cuzco.

The photographs below represent the dynamics of power endured by the Quechua-speakers as seen by Martin Chambi.

The first photograph “Dos Gigantes Cuzqueños, 1925” is of a local man who was a giant of 7 feet. He became a celebrity. The man beside him is one of Chambi’s assistants. We can see the poverty of the Quechua-speaking peoples reflected in the fact that the giant, a Quecha man is dressed only in rags.

In the second photo entitled “Campesinos indígenas en el juzgado. Cuzco, 1929” six barefooted peasants await to give evidence in the high court in Cuzco. By their appearance and the appearance of the advocates of the court on the left we can observe this clash of cultures.

Finally we have “Policía arrestando a un niño, Cuzco, 1924” showing a white police officer arresting a Quecha boy in Cuzco. The officer assured of his power has no inhibition about holding the boy by the ear while posing for the photograph.

It was only after his death in September 1973 when he was discovered that the work of Martin Chambi began to receive the international recognition it so richly deserved.

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