I began my photography career with this project in 1985. Since then, I have always focused on topics relating to African culture. It has been a constant in my life: my best friends and my new family have African ancestors.
In the Shadow of the Guarango Tree reveals different stages in my career as a photographer. I began by doing straight documentary photography, but then I photographed things from the inside out, I let myself be seduced by my subjects and we established an intimate, passionate relationship together, almost like life partners. In this regard, my friend, photographer Pepe Casals, now deceased, wrote the following in the catalogue for my first show in 1987: “Lorry Salcedo brings us a collection of portraits of living and, above all, vibrant beings. One part of this collection shows us their ‘inner life’ and the other, outdoor portraits, which depict the surprise of the encounter…. The document is already there, and [Salcedo] further shows it to us as an expression of love towards the human being who shelters it and displays the kind of naturalness that is so difficult to achieve.”
In both still and moving images, Lorry Salcedo has documented the Afrodescendant traditions, culture, and communities of his native country. He received a residency grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund in 1994, which allowed him to undertake the project Africa’s Legacy in Brazil and Peru. He is the author of Los Huamachucos. Testimonios de una gran cultura (Asociación Civil Ruta Moche, 2013), which gathers portraits and architectural views of a sacred site in northern Peru. In 2007 he directed and produced his first full-length documentary film, El fuego eterno. The retrospective exhibition Historias iluminadas. Lorry Salcedo, 30 años de fotografía y cine constitutes a through survey of this distinguished photographer’s entire body of work. He is currently director and curator of the New York Peruvian Film Showcase.
Victoria Santa Cruz Gamarra (1922–2014) is clearly the most influential representative of Afro-Peruvian culture, though her legacy is not well known and has yet to be properly examined. She made outstanding contributions to the arts as a composer, anthologist, researcher, designer, and choreographer. Her earnestness, attention to detail, and skill were aspects that pervaded every stage of her career.
Her artistic work began with Cumanana, a theater and dance company that she joined in 1959 and left in 1962, when in November of that year she traveled to France to study theater on a French government grant. At the end of 1966, she returned to her native Peru after deciding to form her own company, which she called Teatro y Danzas Negras del Perú (Black Theater and Dance of Peru). The troupe performed their first show in 1967. In 1973, she became the director of the Conjunto Nacional de Folclore (National Folklore Group) and in 1982 she traveled to Pennsylvania to teach at Carnegie Mellon University. In 1999 she returned to Peru and settled there permanently.
Excerpted from Las palabras de Victoria, an autobiography edited by Luis Rodríguez Pastor and published by the Museo Afroperuano, 2016
- The images by various photographers presented here form part of the Victoria Santa Cruz Family Archive and were placed in the album by the artist herself.
- The video performance Me gritaron, negra (They Called Me Negra) was produced by Odin Teatret Film Video in 1978.