02-20001231_IMG_0034-Alfonso-mhs-V2m-FS-s

364plus1

Afro descendants beyond Candombe. Exhibit in Punto de Encuentro (November 2011). Three centuries ago the first African-descendants arrived in Uruguay. The harsh conditions of their daily life are known; only one day per year were they allowed to honor and celebrate their cultural heritage. Is it possible that today, as it happened so many years ago, we are reminded of the importance and influence of the African community in our society only the celebration day of the Llamadas (calling)? 364plus1 is a project that suggests a look into the space of the African-Uruguayan community at the beginning of the XXI century. Using the known symbols of the Candombe as a starting point, which for many in our society is their only link with the community, 364plus1 proposes to widen the look beyond the obvious and question who is the person behind the character. Martin Herrera Soler | Daniel Charlone Herrera [Check below for more details] 

  • Customer
  • Personal project for Dokumental.
  • Date
  • November 8th, 2011.
  • Credits
  • Photography: Martin Herrera Soler.
    Cultural Support: Daniel Charlone.
  • link
  • Project Introduction and Context.

    Project Website [Spanish].

  • Greetings
  • Alejandro Gortazar, Ministry of Education and Culture.
    Grégoire Cheynet, Gallery Coordinator of Punto de Encuentro.
    Carmen Orquet, UNESCO.
    Dina, Alfonso, Gonzalito and Jaime, who opened the doors of the intimacy of their homes to be photographed, thereby transforming this idea into reality.

Auspices

Video

Photos

  • 20111108_L1054553
  • 01-alfonso-detail-postcard-noborders
  • 02-20001231_img_0034-alfonso-mhs-v2m-fs-s
  • 03-dina-detail-postcard-noborders
  • Mamá Vieja
  • 20111108_L1054559 - Version 2
  • 05-jaime-detail-postcard-noborders
  • Gramillero
  • 07-gonzalito-detail-postcard-noborders
  • Escobero

Texts

Introduction:

Three centuries ago the first African-descendants arrived in Uruguay. The harsh conditions of their daily life are known; only one day per year were they allowed to honor and celebrate their cultural heritage. Is it possible that today, as it happened so many years ago, we are reminded of the importance and influence of the African community in our society only the celebration day of the Llamadas (calling)?

364plus1 is a project that suggests a look into the space of the African-Uruguayan community at the beginning of the XXI century. Using the known symbols of the Candombe(+) as a starting point, which for many in our society is their only link with the community, 364plus1 proposes to widen the look beyond the obvious and question who is the person behind the character.

Martin Herrera Soler | Daniel Charlone

 

The inner workings of the proposal:

The show consists of eight images, four large photographic portraits (1.65mts x 1.10mts) of four emblematic African-descendants who represent the most traditional characters of Candombe. A tocador – ‘drummer’ (Alfonso Pintos), a gramillero – ‘medicine man’ (Jaime Esquivel), an escobero – ‘stick holder’ (Julio César González, also known as Gonzalito) and a mama vieja – ‘old mother’ (Leopoldina Barboza, better known as Aunt Dina). Each of these portraits it’s paired with a smaller photograph of the specific symbol of Candombe that represents these characters.

Each person was photographed in their own space, surrounded by their belongings, thus representing their everyday life (or, in other words, their life as it is the 364 days of the year that is not the one day of celebration).

This space was intervened introducing the typical symbol of Candombe for each of the characters. These objects occupy 1/365th of the area of the printed portraits, thus representing, symbolically and literally, only one day of the life of this African descendants – representing the day of Llamadas, that minimal fragment by which they are know for.

Confronting the work this way, it becomes evident how restricted is for many of us the knowledge of the African-Uruguayan collective and the role they play in our society. Inevitably, a myriad of questions rush to our consciousness. Many of the answers to these questions are found in the details of the photographs. They are powerfully complemented by the testimony in the audio excerpts of the recorded (and transcribed) interviews covering different aspects and challenges of lives for people in this collective.

 

(+) Candombe, meaning “pertaining to blacks” in Ki-Kongo it’s a rhythm originated in Uruguay by African descendants slaves. It has had a significant role in the culture of Uruguay in the last two hundred years and was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage of humanity.

 

Comments by Diego Vidart:

Space, time, visibility. Martin and Daniel search for a combination of these three elements to share with us their link with the African-descendant community in Uruguay. They propose a simple double question, a game: what do we see when we look at a photograph and, even more important, what do we not see when we look at a photograph?

The authors invite us to participate in four brief visual instants, they integrate us into the space of the show and create for us a bridge by using the voices, so that we can appreciate the stories behind the history. Four spaces, four faces, four experiences that go beyond candombe.

Diego Vidart

For DOKUMENTAL.ORG: Martin Herrera Soler (photography) | Daniel Charlone Herrera (cultural management) | Belén Cirio (art direction).