Bird in Flight Prize ‘21 Shortlist

Bird in Flight Prize ‘21 Finalist: Madre

Project by Bolivian photographer Marisol Mendez shortlisted for Bird in Flight Prize ‘21.

Marisol Mendez, Bolivia

In Bolivia the representation of women remains whitewashed and phallocentric partly due to how Catholicism and class struggles permeate our understanding of womanhood with Catholic dogmas reinforcing society’s Madonna-Whore complex and inequality manifesting as the under and misrepresentation of indigenous and mestizo women. MADRE seeks to challenge this embedded machismo and celebrate the complexity and diversity of my culture through the portrayal of its women.

In the series, family photos act as windows to the past and are deconstructed to subvert meaning and add layers of symbolism. The portraits depict women as confronted versions of Mary Magdalene and Virgin Mary. I weave mythological elements of Andean tradition into the imagery, which shares elements of both fiction and documentary work. Piecing together past memories and current observations the project explores the influence of race and religion in shaping the perception and representation of Bolivian women.

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