La Lucha Continua (The Struggle Continues) - PhMuseum

La Lucha Continua (The Struggle Continues)

Daniel Mebarek

2020 - Ongoing

La Paz, Bolivia

This body of work entitled “La Lucha Continua” (The Struggle Continues) started as a response to the 2019 political crisis in Bolivia, which left 33 people dead and hundreds injured. Bolivia was among other countries in the region that experienced fierce social upheaval and violent confrontations during the year.

Grappling with the profound uncertainty of that moment, I revisited documents and photographs that belonged to my late uncle and grandfather, both of whom were involved in political activism in the country. My grandfather, Carlos Daza Lavadenz, was a member of the Revolutionary party of the Nationalist Left (PRIN) and was imprisoned and killed in the context of the dictatorship of Hugo Banzer Súarez in 1971. His son and my uncle, Rodrigo Daza, was a member of the Workers’ Socialist Party (PST) and a syndicate leader in the 1980’s.

Using the photographic process of the cyanotype, which is carried out by exposure to ultraviolet light, I decided to re-interpret the documents they left behind. The sunlight acts in this context as a metaphor to shed light upon my family’s history while also emphasising the intimate and material bond of these documents with the past.

The cyanotypes have been placed in dialogue with contemporary photographs depicting both gentle and stark observations of my family and the city of La Paz. Though this personal exploration of my family’s history, this body of work seeks to address issues regarding state violence, trauma, memory (personal and collective) as well as engaging in a broader discussion on the iconography of social struggle in Latin America, which has often been romanticized by the foreign gaze.

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  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. Students raise their fists during an assembly.

    Cyanotype on mat paper.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. Identity photo of my late uncle Rodrigo against the backdrop of a mountain, which is reminiscent of the landscape of La Paz. My uncle spent part of his life as an syndicate organizer concerned with the struggles of the working class and indigenous people.

    Analog photograph.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. Pins found among my uncle Rodrigo's belongings. The left one is from the Socialist Party-1 and depicts a portrait of Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz, a leading socialist figure at the time.

    Cyanotype on mat paper.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. My mother, Varinia, carries flowers during a visit to the city's General Cemetery where my grandfather is buried.

    Analog photograph.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. Identity photograph of my grandmother, Yolanda.

    Cyanotype on mat paper.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. Portrait of my grandmother, Yolanda.

    Analog photograph.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. 1989. Drawing taken from a programme of the Workers' Socialist Party (PST) that belonged to my late uncle, Rodrigo.

    Cyanotype on mat paper.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. A dummy hangs on a lamp post with a sign that reads "QUEMADO Y LINCHADO" (Burned and lynched). Dummies are often placed in neighbourhood corners to scare thieves but can also be used to make political statements.

    Analog photograph.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. 1964. My grandmother holds my mother, Varinia, as police officers exit from a bus.

    Cyanotype on mat paper.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. A pile of fake money lays in the ground as part of the rituals of Alasitas, one the country's most important festivities.

    Analog photograph.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. Late 1960's. Family photo, including my mother, grandfather (shadow) and uncle Rodrigo. The iconic mountain Illimani can be seen in the backdrop.

    Cyanotype on mat paper.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. The cover of a Latinx magazine from North Carolina entitled "Mezcla" depicting a portrait I took of my grandmother hangs in her bedroom.

    Analog photograph.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. Edges of an archival photograph.

    Cyanotype on mat paper.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. 2020. Cemetery "La Llamita".

    Analog photograph.

  • BOLIVIA. La Paz. Verso of an archival photograph.

    Cyanotype on mat paper.


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