Photography and visual media are powerful tools in storytelling and the dissemination of culture. And when told through the eyes of Indigenous youth, those images guide us toward a greater interpersonal experience; within a place, within a time, and within a people.
Melanie Dizon
May 27, 2023

INSTANTE | self-documentation by Indigenous youth

Throughout the first half of 2022, Xapiri Ground along with a few photographers facilitated a series of workshops about photography and self-documentation with the Indigenous youth from the communities of Shipetiari, Chachibai, and Bena Jema in the Peruvian Amazon.
Photo: Tui Anandi | Xapiri Ground

Photo: Davis Torres | Xapiri Ground

Photo: Tui Anandi | Xapiri Ground

Exposed upon these walls are a curation of images captured by 37 Indigenous youth between the ages of 10-20 years old using the Fuji Instax Square camera. Each photograph expresses its own distinct narrative through the eyes of the Matsigenka, Iskonawa, and Shipibo-Konibo youth; lending us a pure insight into their cultures and communities today. Among these stories you will see parallels and distinctions through the building blocks of how children construct their memory and outside them you will feel something new; a reflection of continuity with the past amidst a dynamic life that is always subject to growth and change, as is the story of all youth.

A special thanks to the 37 students who collaborated with us on this exploration of how to see their world through the lens, to David Díaz Gonzales for initiating the first workshop in the community of Bena Jema at Bari Wesna alongside photographers Davis Torres and Tui Anandi of Xapiri Ground, to the Iskonawa people for sharing their story with us, and to the community of Shipetiari for being open to our creative ideas and energy with the support of Xapiri Ground leaders Jack Wheeler, Melanie Dizon, and Davis Torres.

This exhibition is on show through October 18, 2023. We thank our donors and supporters for helping to make possible these workshops that connect art, youth, and culture.