Published on 19th January 2016

The Big House // La Casa Grande

  • The indigenous resistance has been historic. From the Spanish arrival to the present day, the indigenous peoples have fought to keep his life close to rural land. Here we can see a traditional indigenous home in the department of Cauca. This image reminds us that the Indian house comes from years and years ago.

  • Cauca homes and families are in the middle of the mountains where a war has been fought for decades. The bonding strength and the resistance have kept alive cultures and peoples for more than 500 years. For the indigenous peoples of Cauca house is not only the walls and roof, the house is the mountains of its territory, sky, rivers, animals, clouds and sacred stones. The dark chamber built into the house of the family Yalanda allows the mountains fall into the kitchen, where the territory is learned through words and family histories.

  • The department (state) of Cauca is one of the places more forced displacement because of war. Maribel is Ambalueña native who lives in her father's house with her children and husband. Her how many others have chosen to stay.

  • Leider was born and raised in resguardo de Ambaló, after finishing his collegewent, he went to Bogotá to look for a better future. He had to go back home after finding nothing in the city.

  • In the first half of the twentieth century many Indian families lost their homes and lands. Landowners associated with lawyers or priests tricked the Indians making them sign contracts for the sale of their land. So many families lost everything and had to leave.

  • Rubber boots have been used for many decades by peasants, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities who live and work in the field. are an icon of rural life. However they are also a symbol of war. Armed groups have used rubber boots for their armies, guerrillas, paramilitary groups, criminal gangs.

  • Chickens, dogs, cats and other animals are present in all households in Ambaló’s resguardo in Cauca. Many of these animals left alone and abandoned when a family must relocate because of war.

  • The indigenous guard's authority is the “resguardos”. The national anthem of the Indigenous Guard says:
    “Guard, guard. Strength, strength.
    For my race, for my land.
    And long live the indigenous guard ...
    Companions have fallen but not overcome us.
    Because for every Indian killed,
    thousands born
    They are friends of peace,
    go head-value.
    And up canes,
    with pride and without fear”

    Viviana is eight months pregnant with her second child will be part of this historic resistance.

  • The hands of a grandfather. Miguel has cultivated the land since he was a child. He has fed his children and grandchildren with his bare hands.

  • The sky is part of the house, part of the territory. The stars seen in front of the house does not look the same from anywhere else in the world, which is why the sky is part of Indian life.


  • The machete or "chicorta" sword was used in many of the wars waged in the twentieth century. Today the machete is part of the indigenous and peasant everyday across the country.

  • A family portrait made in a bedroom of the house by the obscure camera. You can see the "resguardo" (indian reservation) and its mountains. The camera obscura we have built with the Pechene family. Together they learned about the phenomenon of light on the functioning of the eyes, and the beauty of their land, only to see the same mountains through the metaphor of darkness.

  • Jesus Yalanda sleeping. 3 of the children’s Jesus are gone the Cauca by little chance of finding work. The displacement arises also out of necessity.

  • Corn and baton, are symbols of indigenous power, its history and its resistance

  • The lines that are part of the portrait are the geographic curves of the mountains where she lives each of these people. In the image identity and territory are united because they are in real life.
    The hands of a grandfather.

  • The house Pechene Yalanda family. In the 80's men would gather in the middle of the night to plan how to recover the lands that had stolen 40 years ago. The darkness was covering their identities hoping not to be recognized for fear of being targeted and killed by "the birds" paramilitaries that time.

  • Juancho is a young Indian who neglect their studies. He now works helping him to his brother Manuel milking cows and tending a farm of a neighbor.

  • Without its territory there is no possibility of being different, to lead the life they want. That is why identity and land are synonymous to survive.

  • The Pechene family is reflected in the wall of a room, inside a obscure camera constructed. Over many years, has been the everyday and the value for the things that belong to them what has more strengthened indigenous resistance. Today this junction as a family and as a society allows resistance not only take to the streets but more than ever teach what they have learned historically.

  • Family portrait

  • Amidst the mountains of the Andes, Cauca indigenous families have decided to stay despite the conflict, interest and other problematic that plague the area. The Cauca has been in recent years where more people have been displaced by violence. However, these communities have inhabited these mountains for centuries, that is why we choose every day to stay in their spite of the conflict, resisting only with their lifestyles places.

The Big House // La Casa Grande

Portrait, Landscape, Daily Life

Tagged with:
  • conflict
  • cauca
  • colombia
  • indigenous
  • resistence
  • territory
  • house
  • home