SHIPIBO-KONIBO | retratos de mi sangre David Díaz Gonzales

The debut exhibition by Shipibo-Konibo photographer David Díaz Gonzales featuring the portraits of his people.
Melanie Dizon
March 18, 2022

SHIPIBO-KONIBO | retratos de mi sangre

Portraits by David Díaz Gonzales

In the 1990s, a strong migration began from the Shipibo-Konibo communities towards the city of Pucallpa in Ucayali, forming human settlements in the district of Yarinacocha, inhabited by families that maintained ties with their communities of origin.

This photographic project is a tribute to David’s ancestors and a portrait of the Shipibo-Konibo people of many years ago. Beyond being a mere work or anthropological investigation, these portraits coagulate into a family album where the intimacy of the photographer as an artist can be observed.

Familia Shipibo-Konibo. Pucallpa, Ucayali-Perú 2022

The images evoke nostalgia for the irreplaceable, bringing with them ghosts of people he never got to know, but who deserve to be remembered. In this commemoration, he shows how ancestral customs have disappeared today, since the arrival of the Jesuits and Christianity, and how peoples withdrawn from their communities now live marginally on the periphery of human settlements.

Photo (L): Alexander Shimpukat Soria / Shimpu Arte (Shipibo-Konibo). Painter, muralist, audiovisual artist and activist, connoisseur and disseminator of ancestral medicine. He was born in Yarinacocha, Pucallpa, Ucayali-Perú in 1987. Founder of Comando Matico Covid-19. Photo (R): Retrato de un Sabio Shipibo-Konibo. Professor Eli Sanchez is one of the wise men and representatives of the Shipibo people, whose image and voice is respected among the young and old. Photos taken on behalf of the 'Kene Coloring Book' project by Alianza Arkana with the support of Amazon Watch. Yarinacocha, Ucayali-Perú 2020

Each black and white portrait is also a tribute to the pioneers of photography who, with their gaze, inspired us to capture the reality of a people that mutates, that changes constantly in the face of a society that ignores them and lives with its back to them.

Photo (L): Retrato de Same, Shipibo-Konibo. Luciana Yuimachi. Pucallpa-Perú 2019 Photo (R): El retrato de Sanken Mea. Dominga Raymondi Silvano. Sanken mea is from the Amaquiria native community and currently lives in the Victoria Gracia intercultural settlement. Dominga agreed to be portrayed, she still keeps in her memory anecdotes of her childhood that she often shares with her granddaughters. Yarinacocha, Ucayali-Perú 2018

Una Reunión Familiar Shipibo-Konibo. The photograph shows the cutting of bangs on a woman who is in mourning and behind other women painting their lips; this is an ancestral tradition that survives to this day in some Shipibo families and reflects the daily life of Shipibo women artisans from distant human settlements of Pucallpa.
Pucallpa, Ucayali-Perú 2018
Photo (L): Mujeres shipibas rodean a una mamá con bebe en los brazos. Skull deformation was a technique practiced by the Shipibo-Konibo people until the end of the 19th century. In the photo a woman carries a baby in her arms with a board on her forehead. The process lasted for as long as the deformation was visible. Its purpose was purely aesthetic. Photo taken on behalf of the 'Kene Coloring Book' project by Alianza Arkana with the support of Amazon Watch.  Photo (R): Ruperto Fasabi,
Shipibo-Konibo Shaman that currently resides in the city of Pucallpa. Yarinacocha, Ucayali-Perú 2020.

Pintando Kené. Photo taken on behalf of the 'Kene Coloring Book' project by Alianza Arkana with the support of Amazon Watch. Yarinacocha, Ucayali-Perú 2020

We at Xapiri Ground are proud to debut the contemporary works of David Díaz Gonzales; an indigenous Shipibo photographer who will be exhibiting for the first time his photographs in Perú.

BIOGRAPHY | David Díaz Gonzales

David Díaz Gonzáles is a Peruvian freelance photographer, from the native community Nuevo Saposoa, located in the province of Coronel Portillo, Ucayali region, belonging to the Shipibo-Konibo indigenous people. He currently lives in the city of Pucallpa.

He utilizes photography as a memory tool for the Shipibo-Konibo people. For him it is very important to preserve who they are through images; a material that will remain for the Shipibo-Konibo people and Perú forever. In this time of cultural transition, the artist assumes his responsibility to document these daily life, problems, and changes of his people, through the genuine voice of his photography.

In 2021, Díaz was an AMAZON RJF GRANTEE for the Pulitzer Center for his investigative photo journalism on the deforestation of the Mennonite colony in the communities of Masisea in Ucayali, and won first place for photography in the Maravillarte Competition in Perú. He currently works as a photojournalist for Ojo Publico Perú.

SHIPIBO-KONIBO | retratos de mi sangre is on exhibition through June 18

*To view the full series of photos and inquire about purchasing the work, please email us at for more information.