Marisol Mendez was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Her interest in photography developed from a love for the art of film and close observation – often dealing with the dynamics between immediacy and intimacy. She received a BA in Audiovisual Communication in Buenos Aires and a Masters in Fashion Photography at the University of the Arts, London. Marisol’s has exhibited work across Europe, Argentina and Bolivia. Se has also been featured internationally including in The British Journal of Photography, Vogue Italia and The Independent Photographer.
MADRE delves into who I am in relation to my female lineage and who I have become in relation to where I was born. The experience is a return to the womb, a journey back to my motherland in Bolivia.
While Bolivia is a multi-cultural country with a rich loom of femininity, the portrayal of women remains whitewashed, unidimensional and phallocentric. In order to challenge this inherent machismo, this work celebrates diversity and complexity by looking at the contradictions of my country through the portrayal of its women. The project became a cathartic experience that enabled me to (re)connect to my ancestry and through it (re)potentialize the history of Bolivia.
In this series, women are depicted through the archetypes of Mary Magdalene and Mary the Virgin but repossessed to reflect Andean traditions. To this day Catholicism permeates our society’s understanding of womanhood but it is in syncretism that the essence of our culture emerges. Consequently, the photographs portray an existence interconnected and bridged by both physical and mythological elements – a dance between the Hanan Pacha (the upper world in Incan mythology) and the Uku Pacha (the under or inner world) where women experience potentiality, change, loss, decline, and death.
To view more of Marisol Mendez’s work please visit her website.