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. 

Although mine is a pluricultural country with a rich loom of femininity, the representation of women remains whitewashed, unidimensional and phallocentric. I sought to challenge this inherent machismo and celebrate the diversity, complexity and contradictions of my country through the portrayal of its women. The project became a cathartic experience that allowed me to (re)connect to my ancestry and through it (re)invent the history of Bolivia.

In the series, family photos are deconstructed and women depicted through the archetypes of Mary Magdalene and Mary the Virgin but repossessed to reflect Andean traditions. To this day, Catholicism and class struggles permeate our society’s understanding of womanhood. Piecing together past memories and current observations my project explores the influence of race and religion in shaping the perception and representation of Bolivian women.

Situated between documentary and fiction, the images describe 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.

PHROOM magazine // international research platform for contemporary photography and video art
Marisol Mendez was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Her interest in photography developed from a love for the art of film and close observation. Unconcerned with image hierarchies she combines lo-fi procedures with sophisticated photographic techniques to explore the dynamics between immediacy and intimacy, memory and identity. 
Marisol received a BA in Audiovisual Communication at Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires and a Masters in Fashion Photography at the University of the Arts, London. She has exhibited across Europe, Argentina and Bolivia and her work has been featured internationally.

Copyright © Marisol Mendez, all rights reserved

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