“La Casa Grande” is a close look at the everyday life of the Cauca indigenous people, with a focus on the historical resistance led by these people. These photographs trace a journey that conveys how territory is indispensable to building and preserving cultural identity, especially in the face of unrest and violence.

In this project, we find the great pillars of the construction of indigenous identity: community, home, family, cultural heritage and the deep need of having a land to call one’s own.

The native “reguardos” (reservations) where these photos were taken portray a country in peace—something that all we Colombians desire. But this visionary landscape is actually a contradictory image of the true everyday reality in Cauca. Across war-torn Colombia, Cauca is one of the areas with the largest armed conflicts and highest number of forced displacements in the country.

Thus, these images attempt to lead us into intimate spaces, outside of the unstable public sphere, where we can recognize the eternality of life in the home: everyday life and the quotidian struggle for survival. These private worlds are fragile and, in this moment, perhaps even false. But through the camera (which is another word for room, after all), we see them momentarily frozen and graspable.

Indeed, light, that main element of photography, is used as a tool to unveil other possible worlds. By utilizing a camera obscura built into the houses, each image transmutes daily outdoor scenes into the chamber of inner life. These pictures allow us to imagine a better Cauca and a better country, full of peace and prosperity. Perhaps they even give us the ability to picture a slightly more magical world—one that holds respect for all human life.

—LensCulture