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Martín Chambi

Campesino con chuspa (Peasant with coca bag)

1934, printed later

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Martín Chambi belonged to a generation of photographers who took advantage of new technological developments that allowed them to photograph outside the studio with ease. Here Chambi posed his subject in front of ancient Incan walls, but he created an aura of light around the figure, an effect that separates the man from the surrounding space. This directs, along with such traditional effects as the poncho and coca bag, attention to collective identity, but it also emphasizes his face and individuality. Unlike other panoramic Inca postcard images that present historic structures as ruins or landscape features, Chambi’s close-up photograph juxtaposes the Inca walls with representations of Indigenous culture suggesting that, like the walls, these communities survived colonialism to persist within the national landscape. [Permanent collection label, 2023]

  • Artist Martín Chambi (Peruvian, 1891–1973)
  • Title Campesino con chuspa (Peasant with coca bag)
  • Date 1934, printed later
  • Medium Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions sheet | 10 x 8 in.
  • Credit line Gift of Laurie Wilson, Robert Frerck, and family, 2015
  • Object number 424.2015
  • Currently on View Works on Paper Gallery

Martín Chambi and Edward Sheriff Curtis
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 11/11/2022

12/10/2015 Received at MLKAM; 12/30/2015 Deed of Gift signed by L. Wilson; 3/31/2016 ACC presentation
Robert Frerck (Chicago, IL)

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