Silver Winner

Retablos of Lima

Photographer

Angie Keller

Category

Fine Art Photography - Portrait

Company

Submission Group

Professional

Year

2022

Country / Region

United States

RETABLOS OF LIMA

Because it is said that the future of humanity depends on children, we often focus on what influences their lives and try to identify the important figures that help to mold them. When middle class women began taking paid jobs outside the home a domestic industry emerged. In Peru the concept of housekeeper and nanny merged under one name: empleada (maid).



Even though empleadas (maids) play an integral part in the development of children, we know little about the women who pass on their culture, beliefs and values. While generally invisible to the eye of society, they are responsible for the future of the children.



While living in the United States, I saw that the tradition of empleadas (maids) was a result of the historic and social development of Peru. Terrorism and economic violence forced massive migration and allowed the growth of the empleadas (maids) industry.



Therefore, I decided to present these women as icons of Lima through the lens of my camera. Making these women the main subjects of my images highlights the story of their lives and creates an identity for them as an important part of Lima’s identity in a mestizo culture.



To bring this idea to life, I chose the Peruvian retablo. A retablo is a three dimensional cultural or religious altarpiece consisting of standing rectangular boxes with doors that tell a story in scenes. Recently, retablos escalated from the category of craft to art, being officially named Cultural Patrimony of the Nation by the Ministry of Culture on June, 2019.



I reinvented the retablo as “Retablos of Lima” to present the caregivers and the children they helped to raise as iconic images of Lima. By focusing on these relationships the impact and importance of these women transcends what was meant to be an economical relationship. The result is an unbreakable bond, a maternal-filial love between two unrelated people that survives over the years and overcomes the conventions of social classes.



Credits

PHOTOGRAPHER
ANGIE KELLER
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2022
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