The Andean Social & Cultural Dualism

Buen Vivir and Pachamama – The exploitation of natural resources of the Andean Territory is one of the main concerns of Native People in South America, based on ancient beliefs that environmental issues originate from taking too much from Nature/Pachamama.

 

Photographer Nicoletta Cerasomma is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay.  From the project ‘Crossing Lives’To see Nicoletta’s body of work, click on any image.

 

Water war – The exploitation of water for industrial and human activity (mining and farming) entails the draining of water basins such as Lake Poopò in Bolivia and disputes between Countries over the utilization of water (Chile and Bolivia on exploitation of the Silala river).

 

Mineros and Enviroment – The Andean Territory is rich of raw materials, such as Lithium, Copper and Silver. Mining activity in South America is strictly linked with soil erosion and desertification, labor exploitation and economic dependence on foreign investments. But also the high content of substances contained in waste such as mercury, zinc and copper are having disastrous consequences on the environment and health.

 

The Ancestral Heritage – Pachamama for Indigenous People and Inca mythology is a fertility goddess linked to Nature and Earth. It could be also connected to the concept of Mother Nature. After the Spanish colonialism and the forced conversion, Pachamama has been associated with the Virgin Mary for indigenous people.

 

This project aims to represent Andean Countries, stuck in between the Past and Future. Like all my latest projects, I choose diptych as format to catch the Andean social and cultural dualism, a long time stratification of Society: indigenous v/s colonist, the rich v/s the poor, the native people v/s the conquerors, National Borders v/s Indigenous Territory. Native traditions and habits are radicated in National Countries such as the Western culture and influence.

During the last centuries, both cultures have lived side by side, in a permanent clash among different identities, ethnicities and cultures. In some cases, differences are melted together in a new cultural tradition. In regards to the Bolivian situation, since Evo Morales became president for the first time in 2005, Bolivia has changed in many ways. Pluralism and different ethnicities have been recognized. The poverty rate has decreased as well as analphabetism, the economy has grown by an annual average of 4.6 percent. On the other hand Morales’ open policy towards Western Investors plus the adoption of authoritarian policies takes him away from Native electorate. Since President Evo Morales was replaced by coupist Jeanine Añez in 2019 the rights of indigenous people have been denied, unemployment has increased and social and racial tensions have become complicated in an already difficult political crisis.

 

Lynching and the rites of the animal fetus – Inca tradition and culture are frequent and deeply rooted in Andean Countries.

 

Silently into the wild – A difficult and lost society in the Andean highlands often marked by gender violence, in particular for the cholitas Aymara, and patriarchy.

 

El oro blanco – “The lithium of Bolivia belongs to Bolivian people” words of Evo Morales in the fight against the exploitation of foreign multinationals.

 

The story of a woman Juana Azurduy de Padilla was one of the most important feminine figures of the indigenous fight and resistance in the 19th century. She was identified with mythological and religious figures of Pachamama, the indigenous representation of Mother Nature, and the Virgin Mary, from the Catholic cultural heritage.

 

All images and text  © Nicoletta Cerasomma

 

 

See also:

WOMEN OF HAVANA

By Nicoletta Cerasomma

 

 

 

 

Edge of Humanity Magazine is an independent nondiscriminatory platform that has no religious, political, financial, or social affiliations.

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