Dates2023 - 2023
- Topics Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, Documentary, Editorial, Fine Art, Nature & Environment, Portrait
- Location Colombia, Colombia
Marco Vernaschi's whimsical series MACONDO delves into the heart of Colombia, entwining the essence of magical realism with the resilience of its people.
Marco Vernaschi’s whimsical series, Macondo, explores the intricacies of life along the Magdalena River, entwining the essence of Colombian magical realism with the resilience of its inhabitants. Inspired by the fictional town created by Gabriel García Márquez and deeply rooted in the rich legacy of his literary oeuvre, Vernaschi’s Macondo encapsulates the enchantment of everyday life, revealing the spirit, isolation and symbiotic relationship with nature that characterize the communities of fishermen inhabiting the swampy region of Magdalena and Bolivar, one of Latin America’s largest aquatic ecosystems.
In that bucolic landscape, people are navigating the increasing challenges caused by climate change. As El Niño tightens its grip, the relentless surge in extreme heat poses a formidable threat to their traditional way of life. The once abundant fish population, essential for sustenance, dwindles under the scalding touch of rising temperatures. As a consequence, fishermen are exploring alternative sources of food and income, turning to caiman hunting or occasionally engaging in illegal wildlife trade.
When relief from scorching temperatures arrives with the onset of the rainy season, the surging floods stemming from the overflowing river inflict severe losses upon hundreds of families. Each occurrence forces the residents along the riverbanks to rebuild their lives from the ground up. In addition to these challenges, the sustained onslaught of extreme heat is rendering it physically and mentally exhausting to sustain most activities.
Macondo emerges from the enchanting landscape surrounding Mompox, nestled between the Bolivar and Magdalena departments, divided by the waters of Magdalena River. Within Caribbean Colombia, this region embodies the essence of magical realism unlike any other, tracing its roots to a legendary history. Initially considered a figment of imagination, the colonial town was thought to be concealed within the intricate waterways bordering the river. Gabriel García Márquez once remarked, “Mompox doesn’t exist. Sometimes we dream about it, but it’s just not there.” This sentiment transforms into a literal analogy between Mompox and Macondo.
Across the Magdalena River, facing Mompox, lies a hidden realm of micro-villages strewn along the riverbanks, seemingly untouched by time and elusive in nature. Here, the very core of magical realism pulsates, unveiling itself through the intimate narratives of its inhabitants. Vernaschi’s Macondo provides a captivating gateway into the lives and personal stories of those communities. The river, becomes a metaphor for the fluid boundaries between reality and imagination, and a reflection of life itself, as it flows, timelessly. The series unfolds as an enchanting tale, where people metamorphose into real-life, Macondian characters, and the mundane takes on an extraordinary allure, unveiling the essence of magical realism and the identity of Colombia’s Caribbean region.