The following photos are selections from an ongoing project that I have recently begun with my friend, anthropologist, Sydney Silverstein and some of her colleagues from the University of Kansas, in which we are documenting the construction of a recently settled riverside community in Peru’s Alto Amazonas province.
From her summary:
On any given day, speakers of Spanish, Quechua, Shawi and Awajun wearing rain boots, dress slacks or indigenous traje gather to construct houses and municipal buildings, plant food crops, dig wells and set up burgeoning shops on the side of the main thoroughfares of Brisas del Paranapura, Yurimaguas’ newest community. On October 8, 2010, approximately 50 families gathered in the nighttime to claim a piece of land that lay latent on the banks of the Paranapura river, in the capital city of the province of Alto Amazonas, in Peru’s Amazonian department of Loreto. At once takeover of land and a rich crossroads of language, culture and enterprise, the land invasion of Brisas del Paranapura is also already the sight of conflict. While many migrant families flocked to this riverbank to gain access to the opportunities, such as education and medical services, afforded by urban residency, others, in claiming their square of earth, sought a more simple acquisition of capital.
. . .
The following photos provide a glimpse into the founding and construction of what will become, with time, tradition of economy, industry, migration and human creativity. In the stories of Brisas’ residents we explore, through image and voice, how people both literally and metaphorically are assembling this burgeoning community. As the beginning of a new year and new community is a reminder of the imminence of change, we ask what this diverse and culturally vibrant group of settlers are hoping recent shifts in both material and structural worlds will bring, as well as their own agency in this process. Through image and personal history emerges a glimpse into the construction of a future, and the hopes and conflicts that accompany it. ———-
Brisas del Paranapura had grown to about 2,500 people by the time we visited, only 8 weeks after it’s founding. We plan on returning soon, to further document its growth and follow up with the dozens of people we met and interviewed during our short time there.