A brief summary of my photographic work. Old and new images will be published periodically in chronological order.
CISLANDERUS Cultural Project
CISLANDERUS is the cultural project about the Descendants of Canary Islanders in the US. www.cislanderus.com | Researcher: Thenesoya V. Martín | Photographer: Aníbal Martel. Between 1778 and 1783, around 2500 Canary Islanders traveled to what was then the Spanish owned Louisiana territory to defend the recently acquired land from the British troops. Entire families embarked on a journey towards a wetland full of marshes and at the mercy of frequent floods. Four Canary Islander settlements were established around New Orleans: Galveztown, Barataria, Valenzuela and La Concepción, later renamed Saint Bernard Parish. Of these four, only Saint Bernard still remains. While Louisiana ceased to be a Spanish colony in 1803, the Spanish language from the Canary Islands has been preserved to the present day, albeit in a reduced manner and in danger of disappearing. Throughout the last centuries the descendants of Canary Islanders have survived floods, wars, and hurricanes including Betsy (1965) and the devastating Katrina (2005), proving their ability to overcome even the worst of hardships. And, before the Canary Islanders arrived to Louisiana, 16 families arrived to San Antonio, Texas, after a one-year trip through Mexico. Their descendants are currently in San Antonio trying to keep the history of their ancestry.
NOTES: Project in continuous progress...
Lurigancho Prison, Lima, Peru
Lurigancho is the largest prison in Peru and the most overcrowded. According to the National Penitentiary Institute of Peru (INPE, January 2012) it has a capacity limit of 3,204 prisoners but it actually holds 6,713 with a ratio of one police ofﬁcer to 100 inmates. With corruption, tuberculosis and drug dependency together with its appalling management by the state, the prison gained a reputation as one of the most dangerous prisons in the world. Today, Lurigancho is fighting to survive thanks to the internal organization of some inmates and their work. These inmates have managed to create a small, internal infrastructure that allows them to feed themselves and live a more dignified life.
Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY, USA
After two years of living in the United States, I still find myself asking questions. As an observer, I cannot help but be intrigued by certain spaces that remain difficult to define, both visually and verbally. Coney Island is one of these spaces. A paradise at once kitschy and decadent, full of junk food both greasy and legendary, it makes me feel anything but indifferent. On hot days, those who haven't been able to claim a spot along the packed shoreline settle for a space beneath the plastic palm trees that spurt out jets of water onto unsuspecting sunbathers. Children of all ages, mainly of Hispanic origin, run amidst the crowds while their parents make vain attempts to cover them in lotion. Along the shore nearby looms Astroland, a rickety theme park about thirty years past its prime. A precursor to Disneyland and Las Vegas, the park serves as a backdrop to one of the most iconic images of Americana. I find this scene absolutely irresistible. It gives rise to a series of feelings that are difficult to express if not through the lens of a camera. To be present at Coney Island, even if solely as a visitor, also means becoming a part of recent history, a history Americans have created through images and soundtracks.
Park Slope Food Coop, NY, Brooklyn, USA
The Park Slope Food Coop (PSFC) is a food cooperative located in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. It is one of the oldest and largest active food co-ops in the United States. As a food cooperative, one of its goals is to be a "buying agent to its members, not a selling agent to any industry." Non-members are welcome to visit the store, but may not shop. Formed in 1973, PSFC has grown to include over 17,000 members. The PSFC business model requires each of its adult members to contribute 2 hours and 45 minutes of work every four weeks, and that no member share a household with a non-member. In exchange, active members may shop at the store. The store sells a variety of foods and household goods, mostly environmentally friendly products, at a 21% markup over the wholesale price (compared to 26-100% at a supermarket). The savings are possible because labor is contributed by its members. PSFC operates as a New York state cooperative corporation. The Park Slope Food Coop (PSFC) is a food cooperative located in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. It is one of the oldest and largest active food co-ops in the United States. As a food cooperative, one of its goals is to be a "buying agent to its members, not a selling agent to any industry." Non-members are welcome to visit the store, but may not shop. (Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_Slope_Food_Coop) Website: https://www.foodcoop.com/mission/
Sahrawi: in No Man’s Land, Algeria
Today, the Sahrawis live in poor conditions in refugee camps scattered about the Moroccan-occupied Saharan desert. Stripped of their main source of income (fishing and phosphate), the Sahrawis can barely survive through the scarce humanitarian aid available, victims of colonial upheaval, exile and poverty.
Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, Europe
Auschwitz was the largest of the Nazi concentration camps and center for medical experiments; approximately two million people are thought to have been exterminated there, the great majority Jews, as well as Slavs and war prisoners.
Mapuche, southern Chile
Mapuche family in the area of Llufquentue, IX Araucania Region, Chile. Mapuche are the largest indigenous groups in Chile, comprising about 84 per cent of the total indigenous population or about 1.3 million people. In some provinces in the eighth and ninth regions, a high proportion of the rural population is Mapuche. However, the majority of Mapuche people live in Chile’s cities, mainly Concepción, Temuco and Santiago. Less than twenty per cent of Mapuche are fluent in their native language (Mapuzungun) today. Community leaders (llongkos) still have an important role to play in Mapuche social structure, as does the machi (a respected authority invested with special healing powers). The celebration of nguillatún (a ceremony in which the community gives thanks to and makes requests of the spirits) is still common among Mapuche; it was traditionally limited to rural areas, but is now celebrated by many urban communities too. Today Mapuche organisations are very visible on the national political scene. Most reject the separatist agenda and are prepared to negotiate with state institutions. Historically, Mapuche people have dedicated themselves to agriculture. Today it is difficult to generalise. Many urban Mapuche have entered the teaching profession. In Santiago, many Mapuche women are employed as domestic servants. (Via minorityrights.org - https://minorityrights.org/minorities/mapuche-2/) NOTES: Incomplete report, there are still images to be scanned. Soon!