The exhibition required the photographer Lorenzo Armendáriz more than 25 years of wanderings with gypsies from Mexico, Europe, and South America
Oaxaca de Juárez.– I always “had the concern, like everyone else, and the fascination for the gypsies, like many people have”, comments the photographer Lorenzo Armendáriz about his work in the exhibition ‘The people of the trip, gypsies without borders’, at the Manuel Álvarez Bravo Photographic Center (CFMAB), in the city of Oaxaca.
Originally from San Luis Potosí, Armendáriz has documented the lives of more than 40 indigenous groups in Mexico and Guatemala.
His work refers particularly to cultures and their worldview, as well as the transit of nomadic and semi-nomadic groups, in which the journey does not represent a displacement, but a way of life to exist or reaffirm itself.
On a visit to Oaxaca for the opening of his exhibition, he points out that when he began documenting gypsy groups, he was already working as a photographer.
“I had already developed in the profession, first working in indigenous communities. I went to do my thesis in a Tzeltal Mayan community in Chiapas, called Tenejapa, that’s where I learned photography and decided to be a photographer,” he recalls.
The concern for the gypsy peoples, he says, germinated from his roots: “I found out, when I was older, that my grandfather was a gypsy, they called him El húngaro, I knew him when I was a child because he didn’t live with my family, he lived in a car, and we were going to visit him.”
He adds that the stories with his maternal grandfather were lived every vacation period. “We went with my brothers, I was very young, we asked about the Hungarian in the villages… he was a dark, tall guy, it’s the memory I had, and later, researching, I realized these roots,” he says.
In 1994, when he was working for the National Indigenous Institute (today INPI), he proposed a project for young creators, which consisted precisely of going to look for his grandfather’s family and documenting what these people remembered about him.
Part of his work back then had to do with documenting traveling cinemas. “They gave me a scholarship, I went for two months, first to Europe. It was a watershed. Many of those photos are here, especially from Slovakia and the Czech Republic, they are from that time”, he highlights.
The exhibition, available in the halls of the CFMAB, shows photos dating from 1995 and also from the period between 2006 and 2008.
“ Lorenzo Armendáriz’s photographs give an account of the life of this fascinating town, of its journey around the world. Investigating the origin of his grandfather, he toured several countries in Europe and Latin America, sharing the daily life of the gypsy communities in an intimacy that combines coexistence and photography”, writes the exhibition’s curator, César Carrillo.
His work has been exhibited in Mexico, United States, Canada, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Austria, Romania, Finland, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Portugal, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Kenya, Hungary, Croatia, Poland, Bulgaria, Turkey, Bosnia, Serbia, and Montenegro.
His work is in collections such as the National Library in Paris; the Photo Library of Cuba; the Ronald Margolis Foundation, in Arizona; the Them Romano Association, in Laciano, Italy; the Photo Library of the National Institute of Anthropology and History ( INAH ); the Image Center, the Nacho López Photo Library of the CDI, both in Mexico City, and at the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, in Morelia.
Lorenzo Armendáriz has been a member of the National System of Art Creators of the National Fund for Culture and the Arts (Fonca) since 2003.
As part of the photographic work of the potosino, exhibitions such as La Gente del Viaje, Los Senderos de la Fe, Los Guerreros del Desierto and The breath of the saints have been born.
The exhibition that is exhibited now and until the first week of May of this 2022, in the state capital, required the photographer more than 25 years of wanderings with gypsies from Mexico, Europe and South America.
Armendáriz has also developed his photographic work on pilgrimages and sanctuaries in the Mexican Republic, where he has experimented with lomographic (analog) and pinhole (without lens) cameras.
Among his outstanding works is the documentation of the nomadic shepherds of goats and camels in the Mexican and Western Sahara deserts, as well as the worldview of the Maya-Tzeltals of Tenejapa, Chiapas, with whom he has lived for around 30 years.