The world of a “Little Prince” of the Andes on exhibit in Bolivia
By Yolanda Salazar
La Paz, Sep 10 (EFE).- Bolivian artist River Claure’s Andean version of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince,” adapts the story and its imagery to the landscape and culture of Bolivia’s Altiplano.
“Warawar wawa,” or “Son of the Stars” in the indigenous Aymara language, includes several dozen of the photographs Claure created to accompany the first Aymara translation of the much-beloved classic.
The exhibit will be on display until Oct. 8 at the Spanish Cultural Center in La Paz.
“A while ago I took a trip in the Andes imagining and thinking about the signification of an Andean Little Prince who travels through these landscapes as extravagant and as extraterrestrial as those of the Altiplano,” Claure told Efe.
The artist’s research took him to various emblematic locations, including the Uyuni Salt Flats, the pre-Columbian citadel of Tiahuanaco and Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable body of water, which Bolivia shares with Peru.
“In the novel the boy travels through distinct territories and different planets. I was interested in that idea of making him travel through distinct spaces,” Claure explained. “Territory plays a primordial role in this exposition of history.”
He also drew on Bolivia’s human archetypes, such as the cholita: an Aymara woman clad in bright-colored skirts with long black braids sticking out from under a bowler hat; and the yatiri: an indigenous wise man.
But Claure added new touches, placing flowers in the cholitas’ braids and equipping the yatiri with virtual-reality glasses.
And the Little Prince of the Andes is an Aymara boy decked out in traditional white pants and an FC Barcelona shirt with a white scarf of fine cotton around his neck.
The exhibit does not present a folkloric or ethnic Little Prince, but a mix, with the Barcelona shirt, with tennis shoes,” the 25-year-old artist said.
Claure’s Son of the Stars is not a “pure” Aymara, he is a fusion of tradition and modernity.
“It is the contemporaneity of the Andean that beyond all of the exotic categories he manifests as another subject of the present capable of appropriating, consuming and reinventing the world,” exhibit curator Juan Fabbri says in the catalogue.
The exhibit has been shown in countries around the world, including Germany, Sweden, Spain, France, Italy and China, and has earned laurels for Claure, such as the FORMAT 21 Festival’s Genesis Imaging Award.
Currently a National Geographic Society explorer, Claure has been identified by British Journal of Photography as among the “Ones to Watch” in the field. EFE