Photography as Document
The Kágaba of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia
from: 22.10.2010 to: 27.03.2011
The expulsion of the native population was one of the many consequences of the Spanish conquest of the Caribbean coast of Colombia in the 16th century. And yet it was possible for the evicted ethnic groups to reorganise in the nearby mountain massif, where they have kept up their traditions to the present day. Even the chronicles of the conquistadors and missionaries reflect the fascination exercised by the mountains and their population.
Visual documents relating to them are however rare. This makes the photos of Wouter Bokma of Amsterdam, taken in the seventies, a valuable record of a world subject to constant change. Starting with the documentation of a traditional festival in a Kágaba village, the exhibition - which emerges from a seminar of the Latin American Institute of the Free University of Berlin - goes on to pose fundamental questions about our attitude to what goes by the name of 'ethnic photography' - questions relating to the perspective of photographers, the historical implications of their research, the visualisation of power structures and symbolic representation generally.
Held as part of the Berlin contribution to the European Month of Photography.