This project documents the daily life in the indigenous Kichwa community of Sarayaku, in the Ecuadorian Rainforest. It is located on the banks of the Bobonaza and Rotuno Rivers in the Pastaza Province.
Their philosophy, called Kawsak Sacha, states that in the rainforest everything has life and has relation to each other. For them, nature balance is really important because every kind of ecosystem has a vital role. People, animals, plants, land, water and wind – everything is related and if something gets damaged it will affect and probably destroy the rest. In 2012 the community won a lawsuit against the Ecuadorian Government at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights because the state sponsored oil exploration expeditions in Sarayaku territory without their consent. Despite that, the government has recently concessioned again part of their territory to Chinese oil companies; therefore the environmental fight is far from over. The Sarayaku people defy the contemporary system by living their lives as they have been doing for the past hundreds of years.
Made possible by Ecuadorian Ministry of Culture - Arts promotion fund and Prince Claus Fund and Goethe Institut - Cultural and Artistic Response to Environmental Change.
Who? Misha Vallejo
Docking January 17 - Februari 7 2019
Working on Secret Sarayaku
About Fight for the Environment
Misha Vallejo was born in 1985 in Riobamba, Ecuador.
Misha is a photographer whose work lies between documentary and art photography. In 2014 he completed his MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London and in 2010 he finished the St. Petersburg Faculty of Photojournalism in Russia. He works as a freelance photographer since 2010 and is a member of the photography collective Runa Photos since 2012.
Director of Photography at GEO magazine, France
Misha Vallejo is one of the best representatives of an important new current in Latin American photography. He focuses on exploring the little-seen history of his continent.
He is a young documentary photographer who brings to his journalistic work a hint of magical realism. This particularity can be seen both in the form and the content. For instance, his work on the Kishwas of Sarayaku in Ecuador confronts traditional lifestyles and beliefs with modernity in a lyrical and delicate way that avoids the ethnographic clichés of photographing first nation communities.