Interested in purchasing a print of this piece? Check out the "Doña Máxima Acuña II" Giclée print in my Etsy shop today!
I first heard the full story of Doña Máxima Acuña an indigenous woman from the Peruvian Andes, through the documentary “Hija de la Laguna” (Daughter of the Lake). I learned how, since 2011, she has resisted the imposition of a multinational mining company that has repeatedly and violently attempted to remove her from her home. I learned how she committed to protecting the Laguna Azul de Cajamarca, the lake on her land that the mining company would effectively destroy if not for her resistance.
Her courage and resilience moved me and inspired the two pieces I made in her honor. To me, she represents the resistance born out of a deep love and connection with the Earth, a love and connection that indigenous peoples around the world are literally dying to preserve.
This second piece with Doña Máxima’s words (translated into English), “I am poor and illiterate but I know that our lake and the mountains are our real treasure and I will fight so that… they are not destroyed,” speak to the clarity in her vision and the resilience in her spirit.
I was particularly moved by these words from Doña Máxima because they challenge the belief that those who cannot read or write, or do not have material wealth are somehow less than those of us who are over-educated and materially wealthy.
Doña Máxima knows something we do not need to learn in books and that money certainly will not teach us. She treasures the water and mountains that surround her. She knows that we need that water and that land to survive. And she is committing her life to save them.
In depicting her words and image, I intend to honor the wisdom of indigenous peoples and communities like Doña Máxima and the people of Cajamarca. As our common fight for environmental justice grows more dire everyday, I believe that her words and image call us to take action and grow in solidarity.
And I am particularly grateful to photographers and activists like, Alexander Luna and the Project Guardianes del Agua, who compiled an audio-visual project of of "music, video, photography, illustration/animation and interactive webdesign" representing various facets of the cultural and resistance movements in Cajamarca, Peru. The original photograph taken by Alexander Luna was the inspiration for this piece. Check out Guardianes del Agua website, I could not recommend it highly enough.
Learn more about the Project Guardianes del Agua and the people of Cajamarca here: https://alexluna.exposure.co/guardianes