Photographer, Visual Artist and Sociologist Yorli Mendoza is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the projects ‘Barrels to Boxes 1 & 2’. To see Yorli’s body of work, click on any image.
The misery has overflown beyond the frontiers of the country, wealth does not come in the form of barrels anymore it comes in the form of boxes. Thousands of boxes are sent to Venezuelan people or NGO’s from Venezuelans abroad to help with the crisis that the country is facing. My project is about these boxes and the Venezuelans living abroad who have experienced this.
What happened to the revolution? Scarcity is the defining aspect of a Venezuelan’s daily life. Paradoxically it is the new face of the oil country. The 2018 Living Conditions Survey revealed that 92% of Venezuelan households are poor, by income line. In 2017, 64% of the population said that they have lost almost 11 kilograms in weight in the last year and 78.6% affirm that the scarcity prevented them from acquiring food, while 61.2% have gone to bed with hunger.
This project seeks to represent the Venezuela humanitarian crisis in a different way. To show how relevant the work of image makers are, that despite the censorship from the Venezuelan Government; these works always find a way to provide a retrospective picture of the extreme food and medicine shortages that Venezuela is facing.
As a Venezuelan directly affected by this issue and having developed contacts and relationships with people and organization that send food and/or medicines. My aim was to document the experience of being a Venezuelan abroad sending food and/or medicines home. I documented their testimonies and used different methods from digital to bygone methods of documentation such as cyanotypes to created two photographic series.
First a photo typology of the boxes that have been sent to Venezuela by individuals and by a London based humanitarian organization. Each box symbolises each participant distressing story and the reality of many Venezuelans. These series explore how the crisis has overflown the borders and the relationship of the Venezuelans abroad with the country.
The issue of the shortage is readdressed in the second series of five cyanotypes depicting Venezuelan staple foods and medicines. These are a recreation of the boxes to represent the main products that are most difficult to find, and the ones sent by each participant. These cyanotypes are on transparencies inside a lightbox to represent how the boxes would look going through the x-ray machine at customs. The shadow of the object symbolised the absence of the product in the country.
The Government denies that this is happening and does not accept humanitarian aid. Thus, for historical purposes this reality must be recorded and documented, perhaps more importantly this project is necessary in order to sound the alarm bells and address this situation before its consequences irrevocably affect future generations.
All images and text © Yorli Mendoza
By Yorli Mendoza