The expression chi’xi, an undefined colour close to grey that Aymara women create by weaving two juxtaposed layers, serves as a symbolic reference within this work that the mixed, diverse society of Bolivia presents, using an imaginary of the fantastic.
For years, the photographic representation of Bolivia, like that of the global south, has been limited to reductionist, folklorising Western narratives. The simplified, homogenized image of Bolivian culture and identity has focused on certain ethnic components, influencing the imaginary that its citizens project when they think of themselves. The visual canons that were established through the foreign photographic gaze, deployed during the rise of the industrial revolution, capitalism and colonialism, have long marked the way in which Bolivians imagine their own country, their identity and their territory.
The Warawar wawa project, Son of the Stars in the Aymara language, proposes an alternative Bolivian identity that, without denying the western footprint, is conscious of its roots. Recontextualising the novel The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in contemporary Andean culture, the photographer River Claure sets the story in the alien landscapes of the Uyuni salt flats, where the child protagonist wears an F.C Barcelona shirt.
Born in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 1997, River Claure is a freelance photographer, designer and visual artist. Graduated in Performing Arts, Graphic Design and Visual Communication, he studied Contemporary Photography at EFTI, Madrid. Winner of the Eduardo Abaroa Nacional Award, Bolivia, and the scholarship Roberto Villagraz of Spain, his work was selected for the New York Times portfolio review, the laboratory 20 Fotógrafos and the Valparaiso International Photography Festival, Chile. He was also nominated for the World Press Photo 2020 Joop Swart Master Class, and selected as one of this year’s British Journal Photography Ones to Watch 2020 photographers. He is part of the photographer team at Every Day Bolivia. His work has been exhibited in Colombia, Chile, Spain, USA and Bolivia. This year he was the winner of the Genesis Imaging Award given by the Format Festival.
Venue: San Nikolas square
Open air exhibition