Malu Cabellos


At the end of the 1990s I was working as a photographer at a Lima newspaper and decided to take a break from politics. I was looking for new motivations, stories and characters. I hoped to find them outside Peru's Americanized, overcrowded capital city.

The small town of Huarochiri is approximately 100 kilometres from Lima. The nine-hour journey is difficult, winding along unpaved mountain roads and bumping through challenging terrain.

I arrived in time for the town's annual fiesta to honour Santa Rosa of Lima. The community had organized numerous activities, but I was captivated by the dramatization of the murder of the Inca Atahualpa, one of the key events in the Spanish conquest of South America.

Atahualpa, the last Inca Emperor, was played by the villager I photographed outside a typical house in this small rural community. The photograph is very special to me because it marked the beginning of a series of journeys in search of communities remembering their past. I was driven by the need to know how our collective memories survive and are passed down through generations.

Malu Cabellos, Peru

mag cover This article is from the March 2005 issue of New Internationalist.
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