Buscando a Bolivar

book exhibition

The project is the result of my trips to Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela between 2009 and 2014. I documented daily life in the countries of the new Latin American socialism. My search focused on creating images that could excavate stereotypes, trying to look at these places and events in their complexities.

From 2004 to 2014 I have been travelling around Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela attracted by the political scenarios unfolding in such countries. As from the late 90s in most of Latin America, the economic crises and the restricted access to basic resources for most of the population resulted in the failure of the neoliberal policies of previous decades and gave way to the left-wing parties throughout the continent. The traditional parties had lost their credibility and Presidents such as Evo Morales, Rafael Correa and Hugo Chávez gave voice to the people who had been marginalized before. They promoted imaginaries inspired by Simon Bolívar and the heroes of America’s Independence, thus focusing attention on the ancestral roots of their cultures and promoting a vision of a united Latin America. They were elected presidents thanks to the strong support of social and indigenous movements in all three counties, where new constitutions were drafted and adopted with the majority support of the population. The shared dream of a more egalitarian society came true thanks to these political movements, but in very different ways in line with the social and cultural differences of all three countries. Often the promotion of social rights and the appropriation of natural resources led to a growing corruption and a strong polarization of society. The governments became increasingly indifferent to social movements and continued pursuing strong extractive policies, thus drifting away from their own constitutions and showing their contradictions. It was a moment of rupture in history for young democracies in a continent that was still healing its wounds. It was a time of hope for some and uncertainty for others, knowing that anything could change at any time into the unpredictable future. This is something I have never experienced in my European homeland, a continent striving to keep its fragile identity alive while its dream for an unlimited progress is shattered into pieces. Along this route I found much more than I was looking for. I was dazzled by the unexpected, by the diversity and the complexity, which are the very essence of reality. My life mixed with my photographs and my identity blended into that of a whole continent; a continent which dares to make strong changes by raising political awareness and struggling for social progress. Only dreams can help us imagine a better future.

Caserta, Galleria Nicola Pedana, 2019